Scores of ISIS militants on Monday surrendered to Iraqi security forces west of Mosul, regional capital of the northern Nineveh province, according to an Iraqi military source.
“53 militants laid down their arms in the Al-Hadar district’s Al-Wadi area some 80 kilometers [roughly 50 miles] west of Mosul,” Brigadier-General Saad al-Janabi of the army’s rapid-reaction forces said.
The militants, he said, had turned themselves over to Iraqi joint forces deployed in the area.
“About half of those who surrendered were local people who joined the group when it overran Mosul in mid-2014,” al-Janabi said.
“The rest,” he added, “were foreigners from Arab and European countries.”
According to the military officer, the locals have been referred to Iraqi national security officials while the foreign nationals have been sent to Iraq’s counter-terrorism agency.
In a related development, Colonel Ahmed al-Jabouri of the army’s Nineveh operations command said on Monday that some 85 percent of Nineveh had been cleared of ISIS presence to date.
On Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that Iraq’s border with Syria had been completely secured.
In August, al-Abadi declared — prematurely perhaps — that Nineveh had been “entirely liberated” from ISIS, which has recently suffered a string of defeats in Iraq and Syria after overrunning much of both countries in mid-2014.