Iranian-Kurdish female fighters sit near a sand berm during a battle with Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, near Mosul, Iraq November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
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The city of more than 1 million people and the surrounding territory fell to Daesh fighters during the militant group's surprise attack in June 2014 . Baghdadi visited the city soon after the takeover, and from inside Mosul declared an Islamic caliphate that at one point covered nearly a third of Iraq and Syria.In his recording, Baghdadi rallies his fighters, especially in Mosul, and calls on them to obey orders while remaining resilient and steadfast."We witnessed some vehicles from a distance, withdrawing [from Mosul]".In his recording, Baghdadi also urges Daesh militants elsewhere to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia, whose leadership Daesh opposes, and Turkey, which has deployed troops and artillery north of Mosul and is training Sunni Arab and Kurdish forces there.The recording was the reclusive Baghdadi's first released message to supporters since Iraqi forces launched the decisive battle to retake Mosul, the country's second-largest city, from Daesh.Daesh is fighting to hold Mosul as Iraqi forces and allied Kurdish forces advance on the city from multiple directions with U.S.-led coalition support.
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