new massgrave found near Mosul
On Monday, Iraqi soldiers advancing into the town of Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul, discovered a pit containing dozens of decapitated skeletal remains, the military’s joint military command said.
The offensive to retake Bashiqa began at dawn with a Kurdish barrage of heavy artillery, Katyusha rockets and mortar rounds slamming into Isis positions, providing cover for the advance of armoured columns. Smoke rose from the town throughout the day, with large explosions sending dark clouds into the sky.
“We have the coordinates of their bases and tunnels, and we are targeting them from here in order to weaken them so that our forces can reach their targets more easily,” said Iraqi Kurdish commander Brig Gen Iskander Khalil Gardi.
according to rapporteur report from guardian, link ,Bashiqa, which is believed to be largely deserted except for dozens of Isis fighters, is located about eight miles north-east of Mosul’s outskirts and about 13 miles from the city centre. Iraqi government and Kurdish forces, backed by a US-led coalition and joined by government-sanctioned militias, are fighting to drive Isis out of those surrounding areas and open additional fronts to attack Mosul itself.
Bashiqa has been surrounded by Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, for weeks but Monday’s push appeared to be the most serious yet to drive Isis from the town.
Kurdish forces launched mortar rounds and fired heavy artillery into the town on Sunday in advance of the offensive. More artillery and air strikes hit the town early on Monday as the Kurdish forces’ advance got underway.
On Mosul’s southern front, meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers advancing into Hamam al-Alil, around 12 miles from the city centre, discovered a mass grave late on Monday containing roughly 100 decapitated bodies near the town’s agricultural college. Most were reduced to skeletons, said Brig Gen Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the joint military command. He said a forensics team from Baghdad would investigate the site on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, army spokesman Brig Firas Bashar said Iraqi forces had retaken the town, and images broadcast by the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen network showed images of soldiers hoisting the Iraqi flag on a rooftop in the town. However, other reports said fighting still continued and that Isis fighters remained in several areas.
Iraqi special forces entered Mosul last week and have made some progress in gaining a foothold on the city’s eastern edges. But progress inside the city has been slowed as troops push into more densely populated areas.
The troops are suffering casualties as the militants target them with suicide car bombs and booby traps in close-quarters fighting along the city’s narrow streets. Isis still holds territory to the north, south and west of Mosul, its last major urban stronghold in Iraq.
As Iraqi forces struggle to solidify gains in neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul, more and more civilians have fled the city, according to Lt Col Hussein Aziz of special forces.
“Daesh is trying to draw a line,” Aziz said of the heavy fighting in Mosul’s most eastern neighborhoods, referring to the militant group by its Arabic acronym. “They have a lot of fighters there and they forced families to stay.”
Aziz was manning a checkpoint on the edge of Gogjali, where civilians fleeing Mosul are screened to catch any Isis fighters who may be hiding among them. Since Iraqi forces advanced into the eastern edge of the city last Tuesday, Aziz’s team has arrested dozens of people.