Kurdish president meets Iraqi PM after forces entered Mosul city

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Kurdistan Region's President Masoud Barzani (R) and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attend a joint news conference in Erbil. File photo: Reuters

ARA News

Erbil – The Kurdish President Masoud Barzani received Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, to discuss the ongoing Mosul operation.

“President Masoud Barzani received Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi today to discuss the latest developments on the Mosul operation. The meeting was attended by a number of high officials from the Kurdistan Region including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and [Security] Chancellor Masrour Barzani,” the Kurdish presidency said in a statement.

The meeting comes just two days after the Iraqi forces captured six neighbourhoods in Mosul City subsequent to hitting ISIS’ key positions there, forcing the group to retreat towards the city centre.

“The operation to liberate Mosul is on plan and on schedule. To the people of Mosul, we are in the city and on our way to defeating Daesh [ISIS] terrorism,” the Iraqi PM said on Saturday after visiting Iraqi forces in Mosul.

Following al-Abadi’s visit to the frontlines, the Iraqi PM headed to visit the Kurdish leadership. “Pleased to meet with Masoud Barzani in Erbil tonight. Good cooperation is leading to success on the battlefield. Mosul plan is working,” Iraqi PM Abadi said.

The US-led coalition sees the coordination between the Kurds and Iraqi forces vital to defeat ISIS in Mosul. “Cooperation is key to lasting defeat of ISIA,” US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk said. “Important meeting took place tonight in Erbil between Abadi, Barzani, Iraqi Pesh commanders on next stage of Mosul operation,” he added.

“The officials also discussed the issue of the IDPs from Mosul, how it is of utmost importance to provide the needed services to the IDPs from Mosul,” the Kurdish government said.

Kurdish officials are worried that there is not enough support from the UN, the international community and Baghdad to deal with the huge IDP influx from Mosul, with 500,000 displaced persons most likely to take shelter in Kurdish-held-territory, and another 500,000 IDPs to be heading to Iraqi-hold territory.

Moreover, the officials also discussed the ongoing operations and coordination between Kurdish and Iraqi forces in the operation launched on 17 October.

Fighting ISIS in its capital in Iraq 

“Subsequent to clashes with Daesh [ISIS] terrorists, our Counter-Terrorism Units liberated the neighbourhoods of Malayan, al-Samah, al-Khadraa, Karkukli, al-Quds and Karma in Mosul city,” the Iraqi Army General Command said in a statement on Friday.

In the meantime, clashes continued between the Iraqi forces and ISIS militants in the al-Zahraa District of Mosul city.

The Iraqi army bombed an ISIS explosives warehouse in the Hawija District and killed dozens of ISIS militants, army officer Eli Saddi told ARA News.

“Our forces also seized control of the villages Juhaina and Ghahoni after clashes with ISIS,” the officer said.

According to the Iraqi Army General Command, more than 2,000 Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists have been killed since the start of the battle for Mosul on October 17th.

The developments follow week-long battles in which the would-be Caliphate has suffered numerous defeats, retreats and desertions.

While the Iraqi Army had pushed up from the southeast, the Kurdish Peshmerga has swept down from the northeast. Kurdish soldiers have expelled ISIS from more than 25 villages and towns since the start of Mosul campaign.

According to Peshmerga officer Nechirvan Mirani, his comrades are “now only 7 km away from the city of Mosul.”

ISIS militants are now spread thin across three dynamic fronts, forcing Mosul’s jihadist defenders to gradually pull back into the city’s urban warrens.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Ehmed Sawes | Source: ARA News 

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