Iraqi troops—backed by U.S. drones and jets—stormed Mosul's airport on Thursday, seizing control of the important base in a move to recapture the city from ISIS control. The advance will allow troops to launch operations into a key part of the city's western suburbs. Several thousand of the Islamic State's veteran fighters had installed defenses in the area. The runway was secured by noon on Thursday, though militants had laid landmines through much of the abandoned complex. “Our forces started a major operation this morning to storm the Ghazlani airport base and I can confirm that it is only a matter of time before we control the whole area,” said Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for the Iraqi counter-terrorism forces.