by WorldTribune Staff, June 19, 2016
Iraqi forces are clearing a path to Mosul from the north as they take out the last “pockets” of resistance from Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Fallujah.
“Our security forces control the city except for small pockets that need to be cleared within the coming hours,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on June 17.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said “there’s still some fighting to be done” to fully liberate Fallujah.
Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes in the month-long operation to recapture Fallujah, which had been under ISIL control since mid-2014.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security officials said elite counterterrorism forces and two army divisions advanced on June 18 from the northern refinery town of Baiji towards an airfield near Qayara, according to reports from Reuters and AFP.
Iraq is hoping to use the town and airfield as a staging ground to retake Mosul, security sources said.