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Battle for Mosul: Iraqi Troops Advance on Western Front
Iraqi forces advanced Monday onto the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a push to drive Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Takfiri ‘ISIS/ISIL' group] terrorists from the city's western half, as the visiting US war secretary met with officials to discuss the fight against the extremists.
The fresh push in the 4-month-old operation to retake the Daesh stronghold sparked fears for 750,000 trapped civilians who risk being killed if they try to flee and starvation if they stay.
Federal police forces reached the Aqrab checkpoint on the highway from Baghdad, a spot that marks the southern entrance to Mosul and from which the city is clearly visible.
"Today we are standing in Aqrab. It is very important because it is considered to be Mosul's southern gate," Lt. Gen. Haider al-Mtoury of the federal police told an AFP reporter.
He said his forces faced many Daesh car bombs and suicide bombers as they advanced to within barely 2 km of the city limits.
Iraqi forces also secured a strategic area known as the Al-Buseif hills near Mosul airport, which lies on the southern approach to the city.
Meanwhile, Popular Mobilization Units pushed north on their desert front further west and reached the road linking Mosul to Tal Afar, a town to the west which is still under Daesh control.
Commanders and experts believe the city's west bank of the Tigris River could prove even harder to retake, with the Old City's narrow streets necessitating perilous dismounted raids.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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