Kurdish forces backed up by US-led air strikes have recaptured territory from Islamic State jihadists near the strategic city of Mosul in northern Iraq, the American military said Monday.
The advance is the latest push by Kurdish forces around Mosul, considered a crucial battleground for an eventual major counteroffensive against the IS group by Iraqi government troops and the Kurds.
“Security forces from the Kurdish region seized three bridgeheads on the west bank of the Tigris River, north of Mosul in formerly held Daesh (IS) areas,” the US military command overseeing the air war said in a statement.
It said the assault was backed up by four “precise and effective” air raids by the US-led coalition between Friday and Sunday.
Coalition military advisers also provided “intelligence assistance” to the Kurdish fighters, the command added.
“Kurdish peshmerga forces now hold the gains they have made and are postured to retake additional territory from Daesh in the vicinity of Mosul.”
John Allen, a retired four-star general who serves as the US coordinator for the anti-IS coalition of Western and Arab countries, has indicated that Iraqi government troops would launch a major offensive to recapture territory “in the weeks ahead.”
As of Sunday, the coalition had conducted 2,341 bombing raids in Iraq and Syria since August 8, with US warplanes accounting for 1,890 of the strikes, according to the Pentagon.