Iraqi forces cut off ISIS' last supply line between Mosul and Syria

Iraqi soldiers from the ninth armoured brigade sit behind a military vehicle during clashes with the Islamic state fighters during a military operation in the al-Shimaa district, southeast of Mosul on Nov 22, 2016.
Iraqi soldiers from the ninth armoured brigade sit behind a military vehicle during clashes with the Islamic state fighters during a military operation in the al-Shimaa district, southeast of Mosul on Nov 22, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi-led forces have cut off the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group's last supply line from Mosul to Syria, completing the isolation of the Islamist stronghold, security officials said on Wednesday (Nov 23).

Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces reached the road linking Tal Afar to Sinjar, west of Mosul, and linked up with Kurdish forces there, the officials said.

"Hashed forces have cut off the Tal Afar-Sinjar road," senior Hashed commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis said on social media, referring to two towns on the road linking Mosul to Syria.

A Kurdish security official said that Hashed forces had linked up with other anti-ISIS forces, including Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters, in three villages in the area.

Iraqi forces launched a major offensive on October 17 to retake Mosul, which is the country's second city and where ISIS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate in 2014.

Federal forces have already entered the city from the east, Kurdish peshmerga and other forces are also closing in from the north and south and only the west had remained open.

The latest development will make it very long and dangerous for ISIS if it attempts to move fighters and equipment between Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa, the last two bastions of their crumbling "caliphate".