The spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, said the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorist group has suffered losses of more than 80 percent of its combat troops and equipment.
Speaking to Syrian state television on Wednesday, Ahmed al-Assadi said the Iraqi popular forces were previously active in the area of Abu Jarees in Mosul, and are now moving towards al-Qaim town, located some 400 kilometers northwest of Baghdad near the Syrian border, and other areas to fully liberate them from Daesh.
“Our goal is to protect the Iraqi-Syrian border and cleanse Daesh-held areas,” he added.
Al-Assadi further stressed that Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces will continue their cooperation with the Syrian government in order to make more advances against the terror group and liberate all areas from its grip.
Noting that the popular troops have managed to cut out ISIL’s main supply routes between Mosul and Sinjar, he said, “Daesh have (so far) lost more than 80 percent of its elements”.
The Iraqi commander also said Hashd al-Shaabi troops will launch major offensives against Daesh in the near future to wrest control of the districts of Hawijah, located 48 kilometers west of Kirkuk, Shirqat town, located some 300 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, and the Hamrin Mountains in northern Salahuddin.
Iraqi forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on Saturday to capture the group’s remaining enclave in western Mosul, comprising of the Old City center, and three adjacent districts alongside the western bank of the River Tigris.
The fall of the city would, in effect, mark the end of the terrorist group in Iraq. Meanwhile in Syria, the Syrian government forces as well as Kurdish forces are making gains against the Daesh militants in the city of Raqqa, the militants’ de facto capital in that country.
The Mosul offensive, now in its eighth month, has taken much more time than expected as the terror group is fighting in the middle of civilians and using them as human shields.