Militants of the Islamic State. File photo
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ERBIL – Dozens of militants, including jihadi leaders, from the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) have reportedly fled the group’s ranks in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, especially after airstrikes mounted by the U.S.-led coalition forces, local sources reported on Monday.
Since Saturday mid-night, Mosul has been witnessing a state of alert in the ranks of ISIS extremists, especially with the news of local leaders fleeing to unknown destinations.
Speaking to ARA News in Mosul, local media activist Abdullah al-Mulla said that ISIS has tightened the security measures on the entrances and exits of the city, installing several roadblocks across its neighborhoods in search of the fugitive leaders.
“ISIS held an extended meeting to remove local leaders from power, especially those who have suspicious movements within the group,” al-Mulla reported.
“ISIS-linked security forces (al-Hisba) formed special units to monitor movements of the group’s local leaders inside Mosul,” an eyewitness told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“This is to guarantee no one (of local leaders) could easily leave the city,” he added.
Since Saturday, the U.S.-led coalition’s warplanes have conducted several air raids on the neighborhoods of as-Sukkar, al-Masaref, and Baladiyat. The coalition also targeted ISIS locations near Mosul airport.
The terror group’s headquarters in the Sahha district near Dumiz were attacked by the coalition air force, according to locals.
The death toll among the group’s ranks is unknown yet.
In the meantime, the Iraqi army targeted several ISIS strongholds in the village of Sallahiya in Qayyarah area south of Mosul, causing a number of casualties.
ARA News could not verify whether the victims were civilians or jihadis.
The recent gains by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army troops, beside the mounting airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, have caused an apparent pressure on ISIS in Mosul, leading many militants, especially the local membersــwho already have deep rifts with foreign jihadi leadersــ to escape the city looking for a safe haven in neighboring countries.
The current chaos in the ranks of the hardline group could facilitate the progress of the Kurdish and allied Iraqi forces to retake Mosul –ISIS main bastion in Iraq.
Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef
Source: ARA News