Iraqi-led forces say they have surrounded the contested city of Mosul, effectively cutting off Islamic State jihadists from supply routes to their main stronghold in Raqqa, Syria.
According to officials with the Shi’ite Muslim paramilitary force Hashed al-Shaabi, the group linked up with Kurdish forces along the road that links Tal Afar to Sinjar west of Mosul, cutting off access to the road that leads to Syria.
“Hashed forces have cut off the Tal Afar-Sinjar road,” senior Hashed commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis said on social media.
Tigris River bridge hit by airstrikes
The road’s reported capture comes on the same day a U.S.-led coalition airstrike took out another bridge across the Tigris River in Mosul, leaving just a single crossing in use and further isolating the jihadists holed up in the city.
Since October 17, 2016, Mosul has been under siege by forces trying to remove the IS fighters who have controlled the city and other large swaths of Iraq for nearly 2 1/2 years.
According to the U.N., at least 68,000 people have fled the fighting in Mosul, including 8,300 in the past four days.