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EghtesadOnline: Iraqi forces on Thursday thrust into Mosul airport on the southern edge of the militant stronghold for the first time since the self-styled Islamic State group overran the region in 2014.

Backed by jets, helicopter gunships and drones, forces blitzed their way across open areas south of Mosul and entered the airport compound, apparently meeting limited resistance but strafing the area for suspected snipers, AFP reported.

The latest push to retake Mosul, the country’s second city and the last stronghold of the militants in Iraq, was launched on Sunday and involves thousands of security personnel.

Iraqi forces started closing in on the airport four days ago. It is unclear how many militants tried to defend the airport but US officials said Monday that only around 2,000 remain in Mosul, according to Financial Tribune.

Turkish-backed Syrian militants said on Thursday they had fully captured the town of Al-Bab from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, marking a key defeat for the group after weeks of heavy fighting.

As Ankara said, its allies now had “near complete control” of the town, a fresh round of peace talks opened between the Syrian opposition and the government in Geneva.

Al-Bab, just 25 kilometers south of the Turkish border, was the last IS stronghold in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.

ISIS Syria crisis Iraqi forces Mosul airport