Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service troops and elite interior ministry units advancing towards IS-held western part of Mosul launched a fierce assault on the city airport and a nearby military base on Thursday. An army spokesman said that the operation inflicted heavy casualties on the militants, adding that the security forces will soon be in complete control of the Mosul airport.
Recapturing the city airport and the al-Ghazlani base holds tremendous strategic importance in the fight against IS, notes Reuters. The security forces seek to use it as a launch pad to deal a fatal blow to the jihadist group in the west of Iraq’s second largest city.
Mosul, a densely-populated city with some 650,000 people trapped in the conflict zone was seized by IS in 2014, writes the BBC. The operation to retake Mosul was launched in October, and the forces managed to liberate the eastern part in January.