https://southfront.org/mosul-battle-report-may-16-2017-pmu-pushing-to-border-with-syria/


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Voiceover by Harold Hoover

Iraqi security forces (ISF) have continued putting pressure on ISIS terrorists in the western part of the Iraqi city of Mosul. Recently, ISF troops have recaptured the 17 Tamouz district, the Al-Aurabi district, and further advanced against ISIS in the Al-Rafaee and Old Mosul areas. Some 49 ISIS terrorists were killed and 4 SVBIEDs destroyed during the clashes. According to the Iraqi military, ISIS controls only 9% of the city of Mosul.

The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have liberated a notable number of villages from ISIS terrorists in the area southwest of Mosul. PMU fighters took control of Khilo, Tal Qassab, Karkash, Sultan, Tal sheik, Kabar, and other vilalges near the town of Qayrawan.

Earlier this month, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Deputy Commander of the PMU, announced that the PMU is seeing the Syrian-Iraqi border as a strategic objective of their military operations against ISIS. Al-Muhandis pointed out that forces of the PMU will enter the Syrian territory only in case of full coordination between the Syrian and Iraqi governments, and confirmed the existence of official channels with the Syrian government in case of the PMU need to do this.

Thus, the PMU advance in the Qayrawan area could be seen as a preparation to further push to the Syrian border that will likely be synchronized with the Syrian military’s efforts in it’s own territory.

On Monday, reports appeared that Syrian government forces started a military operation against US-backed militant groups in the eastern Sweida countryside. According to pro-government sources, the goal of the Syrian forces effort is the al-Tanaf border crossing.

Some sources indicate that the PMU and the Syrian military may privately coordinate efforts in order to prevent the progress of Western-backed militant groups along the Syrian border.

About 150 servicemen of the US and UK special operations forces entered southern Syria in order to support a ‘rebel advance’ against ISIS in the area.

On Monday, Jaysh Mughawyr Al-Thurah, backed by the US and UK special operation forces, was in about 90km west of the government-held city of Palmyra in the province of Homs. Militants were advancing in the northwestern direction along the Syrian-Iraqi border.

 

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