PMUs advance towards Mosul from western gate

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces)

Nineveh ( Pro-Iraqi government paramilitary forces advanced Tuesday towards central Mosul from the western gate, further tightening the noose around Islamic State extremists already fighting government troops there.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units)said through its media its forces passed through the “Syria Gate” and reached to the outskirts of Mosul from the western side.

“The forces are now 15 kilometers away from Mosul,” said al-Hashd media service.

Tal Afar, west of Mosul (google maps).

Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January and launched an offensive in February to recapture the western region. Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, an alliance of Shia militias fighting IS on the government’s side, have mostly been active around IS strongholds towns near the borders with Syria, especially the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. They claimed weeks earlier to have severed the road between Tal Afar and Mosul, as well between Tal Afar and Syria.

Iraqi troops are currently working to retake central Mosul districts from IS militants, specifically eyeing the city’s grand mosque where the group’s self-styled “Caliphate” was declared in 2014. Police forces said they were approaching the mosque over the past few days.

On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said airstrikes by Iraqi fighter jets destroyed an Islamic State booby-trapped vehicle in al-Seha neighborhood which was meant for detonation targeting security troops.

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