Iraqi forces have managed to recapture the northern town of Qayyarah from the grip of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in their push to conduct a major liberation operation in the nearby city of Mosul.
“We control all parts of the town and managed, in very limited time, to root out Daesh,” Lieutenant General Riyadh Jalal Tawfik, who commands Iraq’s ground forces, was quoted by AFP as saying on Thursday.
The commander further noted that engineering units were clearing Qayyarah of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The Iraqi troops launched the Qayarah operation on Tuesday, more than a month after retaking the Qayyarah air field,
Qayyarah, which fell to Daesh in 2014, lies on the western bank of Tigris River, some 60 kilometers (35 miles) south of Mosul. The town is expected to be used as a launchpad for the upcoming operation in Mosul.
Abadi hails Qayyarah liberation
Iraqi Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi also issued a statement, in which he described the Qayyarah recapture as a major move by the army on the road to Mosul, the last remaining bastion for Daesh in the north of the country.
He also congratulated the Iraqi people on the liberation of Qayyarah and its neighboring areas.
“Our heroic forces achieved a big victory, an important step towards the liberation of Mosul,” Abadi said.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Ministry of Defense said the army’s 9th division and the country’s elite special forces took part in the offensive in Qayyarah, which was supported by the US-led coalition’s air cover.
The Iraqi army is gearing up for a major offensive in late September to purge Daesh from Mosul, the country’s second city. Iraqi forces have managed to wrest control of several areas in the southern parts of the city.