Iraqi forces are planning an assault to retake the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.
The city, which has been occupied by the so-called Islamic State since June 2014, has been central to their homophobic propaganda campaign.
Many of the group’s ‘death to gays’ execution videos that have reverberated around the world were filmed in Mosul.
The gory clips, dozens of which have been released over the past two years, feature men accused of homosexuality being thrown from rooftops in the city, and pelted with rocks by a crowd below.
The terrorist group has been forced to retreat from many of its former strongholds in recent months, after coming under repeated fire from forces in both Iraq and Syria.
This week, a major operation to reclaim the city was launched, with Kurdish peshmerga, Iraqi government and allied forces advancing on Mosul.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the assault in a televised address, adding that “the victory bell has rung”, pledging to free the city’s million residents from the “brutality and terrorism of ISIS”.
According to the BBC, the operation to retake the city is highly complex and it could take as long as four weeks to oust the militants.