Hashd al-Shaabi clash surround ISIS-held Qairawan from three sides

A member of the Iraqi Security Forces gestures as they advance against the ISIS militants in Mosul offensive that was launched by a joint Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the US-led Global Coalition since last October. File photo: AFP

SHINGAL, Kurdistan Region – The mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi forces are engaged in clashes with the ISIS militants in the Yezidi villages of Tal Banat and Tal Qasab, west of Mosul, as they continue their newest offensive for a third day in a row. They are working to recapture the remaining areas still under control of the extremist group near the Syrian border.

The paramilitary force, backed by the Iraqi air force and the Iraqi army, had entered the Yezidi village of Tal Banat Sunday morning that fell to ISIS militants in late 2014, Rudaw’s Peshawa Pahlawi reported in the outskirts of the village.

Dust and black smoke have been rising in the skylines of Tal Banat, located southeast of Shingal district.

Rudaw's Tahsin Qasim, also reporting on the ground, said that the paramilitary have surrounded Tal Qasab, another Yezidi village in the area.

They Shiite force claimed Sunday afternoon that they have liberated Khilu village, west of Tal Qasab.

The Shiite forces had declared that they liberated 10 villages on Saturday, including Tal Banat.

They also reported that the main Shingal-Qairawan road fell to their forces the day before.

With the advances made Saturday, the forces claim that they are surrounding Qairawan from three sides, to the north, east and south.

The forces are now 3 km away from Qairawan, south of Shingal.

The main objective for the fresh offesnive is Qairawan and Baa’j located west of Mosul and close to the Syrian border, commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi Mahdi al-Muhandis said on Friday.

Muhandis added that the operation was to achieve its objectives within the “next 48 or 72 hours."

Iraqi forces gain ground in West Mosul

The Iraqi Security Forces are engaged in fighting in several districts in Western Mosul as they push southwards from the north of the right bank of the Tigris River.

The US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) has entered the two districts of al-Euraybi and al-Rufa’i, the 16th Division of the Iraqi army and the elite Rapid Response Force of the Interior Ministry has entered al-Iqtsadyeen and the southern part of Tamuz 17 while the 9th Division of the Iraqi army has pushed to Tamuz 17 out from the north.

There is also continued fighting between the Iraqi forces and the ISIS militants in Zanjali district, south of al-Euraibi district, Rudaw’s Sidad Lashkri from Mosul reported.

The Iraqi forces were able to liberate the entire Haramat district northwest of the city on Saturday, read a military statement, adding that with this progress on the battlefield they were in full control of "the western and southern bank of the Tigris River" in Western Mosul. The 16th Division also recaptured Hawi Kanisa, again in the northwest of the city on the same day.

ISIS still controls the Turkmen town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul; Hawija, Riaz and Rashad south of Kirkuk; and several places in Anbar province in western Iraq, including al-Qaim and Rawa, near the Syrian border.