Duhok – Militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) evacuated on Friday their headquarters in Tel Afar District in northern Iraq.
The group has withdrawn from the city of Tel Afar and other parts of Nineveh Governorate, including the towns of A’nna, Rawah and al-Qaim.
“Dozens of ISIS military vehicles have left Tel Afar carrying weapons and militants. Most of the vehicles headed to the Syrian border,” local media activist Adel al-Jabouri told ARA News.
Informed sources reported that major ISIS headquarters in Tel Afar and its suburb were seen empty on Friday.
The evacuated positions included offices of the al-Hisba Police department, Sharia Court buildings, jihadi training camps and weapons’ storage centres.
Furthermore, ISIS militants have bombed the Tel Afar Hospital before withdrawing from the area. “The hospital’s building has been destroyed completely. The group bombed it by detonating a large deal of explosives,” al-Jabouri reported.
“By evacuating those parts of Nineveh, ISIS is trying to avoid further losses under coalition’s airstrikes,” the head of Nineveh media centre Raafat al-Zarari told ARA News.
“ISIS is mainly focused on the battle for Mosul at the moment, considering the evacuated locations of a less strategic importance,” he said.
In the meantime, the US-led coalition said it will continue to attack ISIS in Mosul. “[ISIS] shows no sign of really trying to leave Mosul at this point. Really, what they’ve done is they’ve continued to dig in, build elaborate defenses and so we’re really ready for a tough fight there,” Colonel Dorrian, a coalition spokesman said.
Last week, Abu Azzam al-Muhajir, an ISIS militant from Saudi Arabia, told ARA News there are at least 7,000 militants “ready to defend Mosul.”
“Also, there are still 500,000 civilians living in Mosul, and they will not accept [their] return to the central government’s authority and rule by the Shia,” al-Muhajir said.
An ISIS source told ARA News that group has cordoned all the roads to Nineveh Governorate and has completed almost 80 percent of their field works around Mosul. Those field works include a row of trenches, which are reportedly filled with crude oil. The trenches can be set alight to obscure visibility. ISIS has also erected concrete barriers near neighborhood entrances and key road junctures.
Reporting by: Raman Yousef | Source: ARA News