Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Large numbers of corpses of Islamic State militants arrived Monday to a strategic group bastion in western Mosul following fierce battles, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) has said.
The corpses were brought to the central hospital at the town of Tal Afar, a strategic Islamic State stronghold largely besieged by PMUs since November, the force’s media service quoted its intelligence body as saying.
The bodies are believed to belong to fighters who engaged in ferocious fighting with PMUs on Sunday. Al-Hashd said it had killed 20 militants and destroyed 17 of their vehicles during the encounters.
Al-Hashd’s media service quoted sources in the town as saying that IS fighters were forcing residents to donate blood to their wounded comrades.
PMUs, a conglomerate of Shia volunteer militias, have been actively fighting Islamic State militants on the Iraqi government’s side since the group emerged in 2014 to proclaim an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq.
Iraqi government forces, backed by PMUs and a U.S.-led international military coalition, have been fighting Islamic State since mid October to retake the city of Mosul, the group’s largest bastion in Iraq which fell in its grip in 2014. Operations have so far managed to recapture the whole eastern section of the city, and preparations are underway to invade the west, where military commanders predict a tougher battle.
PMUs, which gained state recognition as a national armed force in November, have been active in western Mosul around Islamic State’s supply lines coming from Syria, and had achieved a remarkable victory in November when they recaptured the Tal Afar military airport.