- Title: Iraqi army advances towards Bartella
- Date: 20th October 2016
- Summary: BARTELLA, IRAQ (OCTOBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) IRAQI SOLDIER MOVING BETWEEN ARMORED VEHICLES TWO ARMORED CARS DRIVING DOWN STREET LEADING TO BARTELLA HUMVEES DRIVING ALONG ROAD HELICOPTER FLYING OVER AREA DESTRUCTION ON SIDE OF ROAD HELICOPTER FLYING OVER AREA MORE OF DESTRUCTION SMOKE RISING FROM FRONTLINE AREA IRAQI ARMORED VEHICLES DRIVING ALONG ROAD MORE OF SMOKE RISING OVER AREA MORE OF IRAQI ARMORED VEHICLES DRIVING ALONG ROAD VARIOUS OF ARMORED CARS
- Embargoed: 4th November 2016 11:38
- Keywords: Iraq Mosul Bartella offensive ISIS
- Location: BARTELLA, IRAQ
- City: BARTELLA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00154T93RB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:An Iraqi army elite unit and Kurdish fighters launched a fresh offensive on Thursday (October 20) to dislodge Islamic State militants from villages around Mosul with the air and ground support of the U.S.-led coalition.
Dozens of black Humvees of the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), mounted with machine guns, headed toward Bartella, the main attack target on the eastern front, a Reuters reporter said.
A cloud of black smoke wreathed some frontline villages, probably caused by oil fires, a tactic the militants use to escape air surveillance.
Howitzer and mortar fire started at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT), hitting a group of villages held by Islamic State around 20 km. (13 miles) north and east of Mosul, while helicopters flew overhead, Reuters reporters on the scene said.
Bartella is a Christian village whose population fled after Islamic State took over the region.
The militants are using suicide car-bombs, roadside bombs and snipers to push back the attack, and are pounding surrounding areas with mortar, a CTS spokesman said at a nearby location.
"Bartella is the eastern gate of Mosul," he added, saying that it was the first CTS operation in this battle.
The Iraqi government announced on Monday the start of the offensive on Mosul, the country's second-largest city, two years after it fell to the militants who declared from its Grand Mosque a caliphate spanning parts of Iraq and Syria.
"The objectives are to clear a number of nearby villages and secure control of strategic areas to further restrict ISIL's movements," the Kurdish general military command said in a statement announcing the launch of Thursday's operations.
Four days into the assault, U.S.-backed government and Kurdish forces are steadily recovering outlying territory before the big push into the city itself, expected to be the biggest battle in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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