Monday, July 11, 2016

Critical air base south of Mosul seized, 1900 freed

U.S. coalition forces will use a recaptured air base in Iraq as a logistics hub to wrest control of Mosul from the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on an unannounced visit to Iraq on Monday.
Iraqi forces said they seized the Qayara airbase, located about 40 miles south of Mosul, from the militants, also known as ISIS and ISIL, on Saturday.

“The point of seizing that airfield is to be able to establish a logistics and air hub in the immediate vicinity of Mosul. So, there will be U.S. logistics support," Carter told reporters after arriving in the capital, Baghdad.....

The Iraqi military told a Rudaw reporter on the front that they had freed 1,900 people who had been imprisoned by ISIS inside the air base two days ago. The prisoners were former members of the army and police force....

U.S. forces had already visited the airfield to check on its condition and advisers would be able to offer specialised engineering support in Mosul, where Islamic State has blown up bridges across the Tigris River, U.S. officials said.
Iraqi forces were already improving the airfield's perimeter in case of a counterattack from the nearby town of Qayara which Islamic State still holds, another U.S. official in Baghdad said.