The city of Mosul is now entirely surrounded by Iraqi-led forces, an alliance of paramilitary groups said Wednesday, more than a month since the operation was launched to seize control of the key city from ISIS militants.
The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) made the announcement in a statement that was also distributed by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.
The development marks the tightest chokehold the Iraq-led coalition has had on Mosul so far, cutting off crucial supply routes and containing ISIS fighters.
At the same time, Iraqi forces are in Mosul in a bloody street-by-street offensive to retake the group’s last significant stronghold in Iraq. They entered the city proper on November 3.
The PMU said the crucial Mosul-Raqqa route had finally been shut.
ISIS had been able to send resources from its heartland, Raqqa in Syria — including fighters, suicide squads and explosives — to Mosul through this route. It was also used as an escape route for senior ISIS members and their families, who fled Mosul for Syria, civilians have told CNN.
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SOURCE: CNN, Angela Dewan and Mohammed Tawfeeq