Kurdish Peshmerga forces marching into ISIS territory on the first day of the Mosul offensive. Photo Ayub Nuri/Rudaw
The offensive against ISIS continues on its second day. Iraqi troops are advancing from the south and have put into action their artillery against ISIS positions.
They have much ground to cover and about 40 kilometers before they reach the southern edge of Mosul.
The troops are moving from the Qayyara frontline southeast of Mosul and their goal is Hamam Ali.
On the first day of the offensive they captured three villages while Peshmerga forces reclaimed at least nine villages.
According to Nabard Hussein, Rudaw correspondent on the southern front, the Iraqi troops are likely to wrest control of Zawiya village from ISIS militants on the second the day of the operations.
A second Iraqi force is approaching the village of Abbas near Hamdaniya south of the city.
Military officials have told Rudaw that some local villagers are conveying intelligence to the advancing troops and they have taken up arms against the radical group.
The Mosul offensive, as kicked off by Kurdish and Iraqi troops, aims to drive ISIS out of its Iraq stronghold two years after the group overran Iraq’s second largest city.
Peshmerga officials stress that they will not go into Mosul city, but they will push into ISIS territory from the north and drive the group from many villages to pave the way for Iraqi troops and special anti-terrorism forces to continue on to Mosul.
Erbil and Baghdad have a standing agreement to join forces in this battle and coalition air power has lent in its support by carrying out air strikes against ISIS fighting positions and suicide trucks.