Islamic State (IS) fighters remaining in Mosul after US coalition-backed Iraqi forces besieged the city will face death, according to a senior envoy for the international coalition fighting the extremist group in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIS is trapped. … Any of the fighters left in Mosul, they’re going to die there,” Brett McGurk said in a conference in Baghdad late Sunday, noting that Iraqi forces had recently consummated a siege on Iraq’s second largest city.
Iraqi troops launched a major offensive in October 2016 to retake the city that had fallen to IS extremists in 2014. The troops retook the eastern side of Mosul in January after three months of fighting that, according to Iraqi generals, killed at least 900 militants, and launched a campaign to conquer the west in mid February.
Iraqi special forces said Sunday troops became in control over a third of the western region. “Just last night, the 9th Iraqi army division … cut off the last road out of Mosul,”according to McGurk.
Iraqi forces and allied militias had earlier said they severed a roads linking Mosul with IS strongholds in Syria. “So we are very committed to not just defeating them in Mosul, but making sure these guys cannot escape,” McGurk stated. -NGB