Daesh Head to Raqqa as Mosul Offensive Begins

Sputnik-Middle East

Vehicles with Daesh militants that arrived from Iraq are concentrating in northern Raqqa, according to local sources.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — The Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) militants arrived in the Syrian Raqqa, presumably from Iraqi Mosul, following the beginning of the offensive there, local sources told Sputnik Monday. Vehicles with Daesh militants that arrived from Iraq are concentrating in northern Raqqa, the city is now heavily fortified.

 Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of the military operation to retake Mosul from the Daesh militants.

According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are taking part in the operation, backed by air strikes carried out by the US-led international coalition. The city of Raqqa is the de facto IS capital and their major stronghold in Syria. It has been under control of the jihadists since August 2014.

Daesh Experiences Heavy Losses in Mosul

Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces prepare for an operation to re-take the Islamic State-held City of Mosul, outside Irbil, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Commenting on the ongoing offensive of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army on Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, Peshmerga unit commander Hüseyin Yezdanpana told Sputnik Turkiye that Daesh is already experienceing heavy losses.

Peshmerga unit commander Hüseyin Yezdanpana told Sputnik Turkiye that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces are now mostly concentrated on the eastern frontline in the Hazır region. An Iraqi policeman tries on a gasmask at the Qayyarah military base, about 60 kilometres (35 miles) south of Mosul, on October 16, 2016, as they prepare for an offensive to retake Mosul © AFP 2016/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE An Iraqi policeman tries on a gasmask at the Qayyarah military base, about 60 kilometres (35 miles) south of Mosul, on October 16, 2016, as they prepare for an offensive to retake Mosul “The top priority of the operation in the Hazır region is to liberate the neighboring Kurdish settlements from Daesh militants. Then there will be an assault on Mosul,” he said. “Peshmerga fighters won’t participate in the fighting in the center of Mosul,” he added.

Hüseyin Yezdanpana also said that the offensive is so far proceeding with success. Daesh is experiencing heavy losses.

“The jets of the US-led coalition are conducting massive airstrikes on the positions of the jihadists in Hazır, Bashiqa and south of Mosul,” he said. The commander added that the scale of the Mosul offensive will be expanded in the nearest future and new frontlines will be opened. The General Command of Peshmerga has announced that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army launched an offensive on the Daesh terrorist-occupied northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday at about 03:00 GMT. The command said that up to 4,000 Kurdish fighters were deployed to take part in the operation, in accordance with an agreement between Iraqi Kurdistan and the government of Iraq. On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of the military operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State militants. According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers are taking part in the operation. Iraqi forces deploy in the area of al-Shourah, some 45 kms south of Mosul, as they advance towards the city to retake it from the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on October 17, 2016 © AFP 2016/ AHMAD

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AL-RUBAYE Iraqi forces deploy in the area of al-Shourah, some 45 kms south of Mosul, as they advance towards the city to retake it from the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on October 17, 2016