Iraqi forces kick Daesh out of Mosul train station

Iraqi forces kick Daesh out of Mosul train station
An Iraqi tank fires at Daesh militants in Mosul on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Updated 14 March 2017

Iraqi forces kick Daesh out of Mosul train station

Iraqi forces kick Daesh out of Mosul train station

MOSUL: Iraqi forces said Tuesday they recaptured Mosul train station, once one of the country’s main rail hubs and the latest in a series of key sites retaken from radicals.

Baghdad’s forces launched a major drive last month to oust Daesh from west Mosul, a battle that has pushed more than 80,000 people to flee their homes in less than three weeks.
Iraqi forces have taken back a series of neighborhoods as well as sites including the city’s airport, the Mosul museum and the provincial government headquarters since the operation began.
Some, including the museum which was vandalized by the terror group, have been heavily damaged, and it will likely be a long time before trains are again plying the rails to and from Mosul.
But retaking the sites are symbolic victories for Iraqi forces and also bring them closer to fully recapturing west Mosul, though tough fighting remains ahead.
Lt. Gen. Raed Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police, said his forces have retaken the train station as well as a nearby bus station, both of which are located southwest of Mosul’s Old City.
The station was the “main corridor from the north to the south and carries goods from Turkey and Syria to Baghdad and Basra,” Salam Jabr Saloom, the director general of Iraq’s state-owned railway company, told AFP.
Because of its importance, the station was “exposed to many terrorist attacks before the entry of Daesh,” Saloom said.
The station was built in the 1940s and was “very important from a trade standpoint” as it was a “launch point for trains carrying goods to Syria and Turkey and back,” railway company spokesman Abdulsattar Mohsen said.
“But it stopped after the Daesh attack on Mosul,” Mohsen said, referring to a terror offensive that overran the city and swathes of other territory north and west of Baghdad in 2014.
Trains once carried passengers to and from Mosul as well, but have not done so since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government by US-led forces in 2003, he said.
Iraqi forces are operating on the edge of the Old City, a warren of narrow streets and closely spaced buildings where hundreds of thousands of people may still reside.
The area, in which they will have to advance on foot when armored vehicles cannot enter the small streets, could see some of the toughest fighting of the Mosul campaign. Iraqi forces are also battling Daesh outside the city, with the Joint Operations Command announcing that soldiers had recaptured the village of Sheikh Mohammed, northwest of Mosul.
Some 238,000 people are currently displaced due to the fighting in the Mosul area, while more fled but later returned to their homes, the IOM said.