232 Killed in Iraq as Mosul Fighting Heats Up

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On Wednesday, the Popular Mobilization Forces declared
it would be supporting Iraqi troops in the Tal Afar area as part of the
operation on Mosul. Taking Tal Afar would cut off an escape route for the
Islamic State militants fleeing Mosul. Separately, Moscow voiced
its belief that militants must be stopped before reaching safety in Syria.

This umbrella group of Shi’ite militias also announced they
would be supporting troops entering Mosul. Major General Gary Volesky,
the commander of U.S.-led coalition ground forces warned
the Coalition would not support the militiamen. However, this could be a repeat
of the battle for Fallujah earlier this year. U.S. authorities insisted that
militias stay out of Fallujah, but the militiamen did not. The list of war
crimes there is long.

This time, the P.M.L. was supposedly being sent
to Hawija specifically to keep them out of the Mosul arena. The decision
came after tough negotiations in Baghdad. It is unclear why a group of
militiamen is not following their orders.

Meanwhile, Army General Joseph Votel, commander of
U.S. Central Command said
that the operation in Mosul could take months to complete, depending on how
vigorously Daesh militants defend themselves. He reported significant resistance
in Mosul’s outlying areas. Authorities estimate
that about 5,000 to 6,000 Daesh fighters are left in Mosul, but their leaders
may already be abandoning
them.

Also, thousands of refugees have arrived
in Syria, and thousands more are waiting their chance to cross the
border. Refugee centers are planning for as many as 100,000 refugees.

Iraqi forces retook Bakr,
Najma, Osmaniyah Rafla, Siewah, and Zawiya.

Shi’ite militiamen captured
Bayda, Khirbet Hadid, and Shami.

Shura and Tel al-Samn were also reported freed.

To the south, the road between Haditha and Baiji
has been completely cleared
of militants.

Special forces have arrived
in Bartala.

There are reports
of snipers attacking militants in Mosul.

At least 232 people were killed and four were wounded.

In Houd, a militant shot and killed
a man
parading around with an Iraqi flag. This prompted the town to rebel
against the militants. Reporters saw at least five
bodies
, but many more militants could have been killed. A man reported that
his father
was killed
in the uprising.

Militants executed 16 people
in Azba on charges of spying.

A failed attack on Sinjar left four
Peshmerga wounded
and 47 militants
dead
.

Security forces killed at least 96 militants on the southern
front
.

A suicide
bomber
blew himself up among Daesh members trying to flee to Syria.

In Jouna, security forces killed
21 militants
.

Twenty-one
militants were killed
in clashes with federal police in Bojwana.

Strikes left 15
militants dead
in Qayara.

In Mosul, resistance forces killed
five militants

In Qayara and Hamdaniya, security forces killed two militant leaders.

A militant
commander was killed
in…

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