ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – ISIS militants can no longer escape from Mosul or bring in more fighters to reinforce their forces in the city, a coalition spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Hashd al-Shaabi forces approaching Tal Afar aimed to cut ISIS in Mosul off from Raqqa, Syria and disrupt the group’s escape and supply routes.
“That’s exactly what they’ve done to date,” said Col. John Dorrian. “They’ve stopped Daesh from being able to escape or to bring in more fighters. That’s been a very effective move by the government of Iraq and thus far it’s worked out very well.”
Senior Hashd al-Shaabi commander, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, confirmed on social media on Wednesday that their forces have “cut off the Tal Afar-Sinjar road.”
The Shiite forces are coordinating with other forces in the area, including the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish security official told AFP.
In Mosul, Dorrian said that many ISIS fighters are dying in place as Iraqi forces continue to make progress in a slow, tough, dangerous fight. Almost half of eastern Mosul has been taken, constricting where ISIS is able to move and operate, making it more difficult for the extremist group to react to army advances from the north and the south.