ISIS fighters flee Mosul dressed in women’s clothes
The two men – reportedly ISIS fighters – were caught by Kurdish Peshmerga troops near Mosul, according to The Sun.
It is understood Baghdadi is cornered in Mosul.
Major General Gary Volesky, of the US Army, who heads the anti-IS coalition’s land component, said ISIS commanders are ‘fleeing the city’ ahead of ‘multiple assaults’ planned for Thursday.
ISIS is also evacuating the ‘wives of leaders’ according to a reported order by ISIS boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Maj Gen Volesky told reporters in a video briefing that many foreigners among the 6,000 IS fighters would likely end up forming the core of the holdout jihadist force.
The Iraqi media outlet Al Sumaria added: ‘The ISIS evacuated what it called the women of caliphate from the city of Mosul to the Syrian ISIS-held cities including Raqqa, over the last two days,’ pointing out that, ‘These women are the wives of the leaders of ISIS.’
‘The women of caliphate were evacuated by orders from Baghdadi to avoid being captured by the security forces or rebellious people of Mosul after liberating the city.’
Army General Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said the battle could last ‘for months’.
Army Gen Votel said Iraqi officials have publicly spoken of the Mosul battle lasting for weeks or months, amid speculation the army may launch a simultaneous offensive to retake Raqqa in Syria.
He said he is comfortable with the Iraqis’ timeframe and said it was important to ackowledge the Islamic State are an ‘adaptive enemy capable of adjusting to setbacks’.
Army Gen Votel said: ‘I’ll give you an example. The operation we did to Manbij, in northern Syria, took about 71 days to complete, from start to finish.’
He also stressed the importance of ‘simultaneous application of pressure’ in Mosul and Raqqa.
He said: ‘I think it’s extraordinarily important and we are certainly attempting to do that.
‘I think what we’ve seen is when we apply pressure on the Islamic State forces, they do squirt out, they try to go to other locations, they move leaders, they move the bulk of their forces, they try to relocate some of their operations.’