Iraqi forces launch large-scale push to retake western Mosul from ISIS

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a large-scale military operation on Sunday to retake the western half of Mosul and dislodge Islamic State militants. It is the latest phase in a 4-month-old offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the operation on state TV, saying government forces were moving to “liberate the people of Mosul from Daesh oppression and terrorism forever,” using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. He called on security forces to deal with civilians properly and to respect human rights. Iraqi forces declared eastern…

Read More

Mosul battle: Kurdish forces push into IS-held Bashiqa

Iraqi Kurdish forces have fought their way into a town held by Islamic State militants north-east of Mosul. Hundreds of Peshmerga fighters, backed by artillery and US-led coalition air strikes, advanced on Bashiqa from three directions on Monday morning. By late afternoon, they were moving from house to house clearing the town, a Peshmerga statement said. Meanwhile, the Iraqi military said it had found a mass grave filled with some 100 decapitated bodies south of Mosul. The grave was located in the grounds of an agricultural college on the outskirts…

Read More

Isil ‘kills 50 deserters and goes on recruitment drive for child soldiers’ in Mosul, as Iraqi forces recapture six districts

Isil militants have killed hundreds of people, including 50 deserters and 180 former Iraqi government employees, around their stronghold of Mosul, UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Friday. The 50 were executed for desertion on Monday at the Ghazlani military base in Mosul, and the 180 died on Wednesday as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) was retreating from Kokjali town, she told a regular UN briefing in Geneva, citing “credible reports” from multiple sources, including from Isil-occupied areas. The militants transported 1,600 abducted civilians from the…

Read More

Russia Warns Against US Attack on Syrian Forces

Russia warned the United States Saturday against carrying out any attacks on Syrian government forces, saying it would have repercussions across the Middle East as government forces captured a hill on the edge of the northern city of Aleppo under the cover of airstrikes. Meanwhile, airstrikes on Aleppo struck a hospital in the eastern rebel-held neighborhood of Sakhour on Saturday, putting it out of service, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees. They said at least one person was killed in the airstrike.…

Read More