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April 7, 2003
 
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(Reuters Photo)
Kurd Troops Move Toward Mosul, Take Town of Faida

Reuters


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FAIDA, Iraq (Reuters) - Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, working with U.S. forces, advanced south toward Iraq's third largest city Mosul on Monday, capturing the small town of Faida along the way.

A Peshmerga commander told Reuters about 300 Kurdish fighters advanced at least five km (three miles) on Monday on the road to Mosul from Dohuk.

U.S. forces and the Peshmerga have been pushing toward Mosul and the major oil center of Kirkuk, the main prize in the north.

Peshmerga engaged Iraqi troops in fighting at Faida on Saturday. But on Monday, they took the town with little resistance. A Reuters reporter heard some mortar and artillery in the distance.

Forces loyal to Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani replaced pictures of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with images of Barzani and took down the Iraqi flag.

The troops then moved on another two or three kilometers south of Faida toward Mosul.

"We are advancing quite well. We will stop in the next village...for today, five kilometers further. We have not received orders to head on to Mosul," said Omar Hassan, commander in charge of the operation.

Hassan called surrendering Iraqi soldiers "our guests" and told them his troops fought "for a better future for Iraq." He offered the Iraqis water and biscuits.

The area along the main road between Dohuk and Mosul has been heavily bombed since the northern front in the Iraq war began. U.S. special forces have been operating alongside Kurdish fighters, calling in U.S. air strikes.

U.S. forces on Monday again provided close air support.

The latest development in northern Iraq came as U.S. troops in the south drove tanks into the heart of Baghdad, and took control of two presidential palaces.

The Kurdish-ruled zone, consisting of Iraq's three most northerly provinces, has been autonomous since the 1991 Gulf War, protected by a U.S. and British-patrolled no-fly zone.


photo credit and caption:
U.S. soldiers study a map to coordinate the advance of Iraqi Kurdish militia under their command after they captured Jambour village between the cities of Dohuk and Mosul in northern Iraq April 7, 2003. Iraqi Kurdish fighters advanced to the positions about 27 miles from Mosul, as Iraqi forces retreated under heavy air strike by U.S. bomber planes. Photo by Stringer/Turkey/Reuters

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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