"I saw some Daesh members and they looked completely different from the last time I saw them", eastern Mosul resident Abu Saif said. "They must be scared. they are also probably preparing to escape the city". He declined to be more precise about a timeline but said there is "a sense of urgency". "The task for his successor - still a big one - will be to consolidate military gains and more inclusive politics in Iraq and to pursue a solution in Syria that ends the sectarian fighting that fuels ISIS".
News of the militia's activities north of Mosul, which has been under Islamic State control for the last two years, comes amid reports of US -led efforts to carve out a larger role for Turkish forces in the fight. Moreover, the US-led jets are also taking part in the operation.
There are between 3,500 and 5,000 ISIS militants in Mosul and up to another 2,000 in the broader area, according to US estimates.
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter announced that it will be only a matter of weeks before Washington and its allies are ready to drive the Islamic State (IS) terror group from Raqqa, its self-proclaimed capital in Syria. Townsend said more Syrian opposition fighters need to be recruited, trained and equipped for the Raqqa battle, but he and other officials have said in recent days that the Mosul and Raqqa operations will overlap.
It has been "long planned" that the US-backed assault on Mosul - which started earlier this month - Iraq and Raqqa would be overlapping, Carter said.
INCREDIBLES 2 Moves Up to 2018, TOY STORY 4 Drops Back
There is now no word as to why these schedule changes have been made, but we will update this article as soon as we know more. Toy Story 4 will see the return of director John Lasseter , who directed the original Toy Story and Toy Story 2 .
Townsend explained that the fight in Raqqa would be challenging because of the complicated battlefield in Syria, where the Russian military is supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime against rebel forces in western Syria.
Votel's job is arguably the most complex in the U.S. military, as he is responsible for an area including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as war-torn Yemen, Iran and the rest of the Middle East.
More than 10,000 people are believed to have fled their homes because of the fighting, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.
Numbers of displaced residents were growing but stood at a relatively low 8,940 on Wednesday, according to a United Nations tally, because most of the fighting so far has taken place in sparsely populated areas.