Sunday, January 15, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News


Mosul Campaign Day 90, Jan 14, 2017


On the 90th day of the Mosul campaign all of southeast Mosul was declared freed and much of the northern section as well. Starting in the south, the Federal Police and 9th Division freed Yarmja. The Rapid Reaction forces reached the Tigris River and said it was aiming to attack the Mosul Airport. Other units were clearing areas they had taken in the section. In doing so the entire southeastern part of Mosul was under government control. Towards the center the Golden Division liberated Sadriya, Nassir and Faisaliya. The unit also seized several government buildings including the mayor and the provincial council’s offices. In the north the division took all of the Mosul University. Above that the army was going through Hadbaa, Mudraa and Kafat looking for IEDs and booby traps. Only about 25% of Mosul in the northeast along the Tigris River and in the center remains under Islamic State control after these recent advances.

In the new areas being entered there has been a shift in the fighting. First, there are fewer car bombs. There used to be double digits per day, but now that is down to around 1-4. There are also not as many civilian casualties because not many people live in areas such as the government complex and the Mosul University.

The Washington Post noted how reinforcements, more supplies and an increase in U.S. led Coalition advisers has facilitated the recent victories. The Golden Division, which has been in the lead inside Mosul received up to 300 new replacements. It also got 70 additional Humvees, and 40 U.S. Coalition advisers in and around Mosul. The first two were very important to keep the unit going. There have been various figures presented for the Golden Division’s casualties. An Iraqi general said it had suffered 20-26% losses, an American officer told Politico that it was as high as 50%, while a former American adviser to the Golden Division had heard the figure was 20-35%. There’s no way to say which was right, as the government does not report its losses. Whatever the true number was replacement troops and equipment were crucial to keep the force going in the tough fighting within the city. The forward deployment of Coalition forces also helped with air and artillery strikes, and providing intelligence and advice.

Reuters had a piece on how IS was fighting inside the city. It talked with people in Muharibeen, which is now under government control, about how the militants conducted themselves. IS hung curtains across streets to try to obscure its movements from the ISF. It parked car bombs on side streets waiting for opportunities to deploy them, forced people out of their homes at gunpoint to use them as fire positions, and then quickly moved on to others. Finally there was a division of labor between fighters who planted explosives, snipers, and guides. The guides would tell fighters where to take up positions, where to place car bombs, etc. The IS members were also from different places. Locals claimed the snipers were usually foreign fighters form Russia, Chechnya and Afghanistan, while the rest were Iraqis mostly from Mosul and Tal Afar.

Another day and there was another story on the divisions within the Islamic State. 10 IS fighters were allegedly killed and wounded in a clash. As insurgents were fleeing east Mosul for the west crossing the Tigris, other members called them cowards. That led to an argument and armed clashes that resulted in the casualties.

The Director General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Center in Kurdistan warned that the humanitarian situation was growing worse for those displaced from the fighting. He said that around 3,000 people were fleeing Mosul per day. 70% of those make their way to camps in Kurdistan. He complained that Baghdad and international donors were not contributing enough to aid this increasing wave of people. This was predicted before the Mosul campaign began, and was why the government urged the people of Ninewa to stay in their homes. The authorities and aid groups simply lacked the resources to take care of them. Only one tenth of the one million internal refugees that were feared have materialized, but they even that amount is turning into a handful.

Rudaw went to a screening court at a displaced camp in Khazir. While most have focused upon the males that are taken away as suspected IS sympathizers during this process Rudaw wrote about the documents people are missing, which are crucial for receiving aid. People need their government IDs to receive tents, food rations, and other forms of assistance. Many coming out of Mosul have either left those papers behind, were lost while they were under IS rule, or were taken by Kurdish security when they escaped. The situation of the displaced is already hard enough. Without their papers it will be all that more difficult.

Finally, the Ninewa Plains were liberated during the Mosul operation, which is one of the historical homelands of Iraq’s Christians. Many of their towns like Qaraqosh have been destroyed however, and few are talking about returning. Instead many interviewed by the press have talked about immigrating to other countries, especially ones in Europe, a process that has been going on for years now due to the violence aimed at them. As one Christian woman said, the Islamic State “destroyed our dreams and our memories” and there was little left for them in Iraq now. On the other hand, there are some that want to create their own province or region. How successful that will be with more and more of the community leaving the country is yet to be seen.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Security forces liberate government buildings, 3 districts in Mosul, Iraqi News, 1/14/17
- “Security forces storm into Mosul University and liberate it completely,” Iraqi News, 1/14/17
- “Ten IS members killed, wounded in internal clash in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/14/17

Al Alam, “VIDEO: Iraqi Forces Reaches Bank of Tigris River, Aim for Mosul Airport,” 1/14/17

BBC, "Mosul battle: Iraq forces 'retake' university from IS," 1/14/17

Chick, Kristen, “Iraqi Christians: Will they go home?” Christian Science Monitor, 1/14/17

George, Susannah, “Iraq makes swift territorial gains against IS in Mosul,” Associated Press, 1/14/17

Al Jazeera, “Iraqi forces ‘retake Mosul University’ from ISIL,” 1/14/17

Kalin, Stephen, “On Mosul frontlines, Islamic State’s local fighters direct the battle,” Reuters, 1/14/17

MacDiarmid, Campbell, “The Battle to Retake Mosul Is Stalemated,” Foreign Policy, 12/22/16

Morris, Loveday and Salim, Mustafa, “After a slow and bloody fight against ISIS, Iraqi forces pick up the pace in Mosul,” Washington Post, 1/14/17

Neuhof, Florian, “Inside Mosul: Taking selfies and comforting civilians all in a day’s work for Iraqi soldiers,” The National, 1/14/17

Neurink, Judit, “Court set up near Mosul to confer Iraqi IDs on refugees with ISIS-issued documents,” Rudaw, 1/14/17

New Sabah, “Liberated a wide area of Mosul neighborhoods and Veterinary Medical College,” 1/14/17

NINA, “Daesh Burns All Government Departments In The Left Side In Mosul,” 1/13/17

Perry, Mark, “How Iraq’s Army Could Defeat ISIS in Mosul-But Lose Control of the Country,” Politico, 12/15/16

Rudaw, “Iraqi army kills ISIS leader form Netherlands in Mosul,” 1/14/17
- “Mosul University liberated along with entire southeastern parts of the city, security officials say,” 1/14/17
- “Mosul’s fleeing residents double with 3000 on daily basis, Kurdish official,” 1/14/17

Shafaaq News, “War media cell reveals the outcome of the day’s battles in Mosul,” 1/14/17

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces make gains in recapture push in Mosul," 1/14/17


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 89, Jan 13, 2017


The Iraqi forces (ISF) were moving forward on all three fronts in east Mosul on January 13. In the north, the army’s 15th and 16th Divisions freed Hadbaa and Mudraa. In the center, the Golden Division has split up into two branches. One has moved north and linked up with the army. It freed Kafat 1 and attacked Kafat 2 and the Mosul University. The Technical Institute, Technical College, and dormitories were all taken. To the south the Golden Division freed Nassir and Rafaq, and seized the entrances to the Hurriya and Iron bridges. The ISF has now reached the three southernmost bridges across the Tigris River. In response, the Islamic State set off explosives on all five spans to impede the ISF from using them. Sadriya, Nassir, and Faisaliya were entered, and the Prophet Younis site was assaulted. The Federal Police and 9th Division were clearing areas that had just been taken the last few days, namely Sumer, Dumiz, Sahiron, and Salam in the south. Originally, the Golden Division entered east Mosul on its own due to orders from Prime Minister Haidar Abadi who was eager to seize the city by the end of 2016. This was despite the fact that the northern and southern fronts had not even reached the city to spread the Islamic State’s defenses out. Eventually elements of the 9th Division entered the eastern section as well, but there was little coordination with the Golden Division. That along with the sturdy defenses of the insurgents led to slow progress with some setbacks. The whole operation eventually came to a halt in December to reload and reorganize, and come up with a new plan. When the campaign was restarted major forces from the army and police were shifted to east Mosul to push forward on three lines of advance. That was supported by more U.S. Coalition support with planes, helicopters, artillery, and intelligence. The Americans also pushed greater cooperation between the different Iraqi forces. Since then there has been a series of victories, and a collapse of IS’s defenses.  
(Institute for the Study of War)

Each day there are more stories of IS forces in east Mosul falling into disarray. New Sabah received reports that the militants were robbing people and looting homes as they fled to the western half of the city. They were also burning government offices in a scorched earth campaign they have been carrying out since October. A security source also said that the group’s discipline was breaking down, as some were not following orders to stop civilians from escaping to government held lines. If this carries over to western Mosul it might fall much quicker than the eastern section.

More people continued to flee the Mosul area. The International Organization for Migration counted 144,588 people registered up to January 12. From January 5 to January 12 12,354 people left. A total of 161,172 people signed up with the government and aid agencies, but 16,560 of those have gone back to their homes. Gogjali an eastern suburb of Mosul is the hub for people moving back and forth into Mosul. Some are heading north to camps in Kurdistan while others are staying in the area. Most said they were trying to escape IS shelling. The number of people leaving has more than doubled since the campaign has re-started at the end of last year.  

Gogjali is also where life is beginning to return to the Mosul area. People are opening stalls, shops and markets there. This is despite the fact that there is no power and other services. Trucks bring in supplies to the town, and people from east Mosul travel their to buy goods. There are at least several thousand people displaced within the city. Where fighting is going on or IS rocket and mortar fire is the most intense they leave, but then others are going back to parts that are more secure. None of these are included in the displaced figures because they are not registered.
(U.N.)
  
Finally, the United Nations released a study of the oil fires in Qayara. These were set afire back in October when IS fled the area. They are spitting out huge toxic clouds that have had a huge environmental impact on the area. While several wells have been put out there are still 29 others still burning.
(Getty)

SOURCES

Al Alam, "VIDEO: Iraqi Special Forces Continue Advancing in Eastern Mosul," 1/13/17

Associated Press, “In eastern Mosul, small signs of progress amid the fighting,” 1/12/17
- “UN Warns Of Oil Spill South Of Iraqi City Of Mosul,” 1/13/17

BBC, “Mosul battle: Iraqi forces clash with IS at university,” 1/13/17

Coles, Isabel and Davison, John, "Iraqi forces make rapid gains against Islamic State in Mosul," Reuters, 1/13/17

Al Forat, "Jihad Brigades announced four martyrs west of Mosul," 1/13/17
- "Urgent anti-terrorism forces arrive in Prophet Younis area in Mosul," 1/13/17

George, Susannah and Mohammed, Khalid, “Iraqi forces enter Mosul University in battling IS for city,” Associated Press, 1/13/17

International Organization for Migration, “Mosul emergency has now displaced over 144,500 Iraqis: IOM,” 1/13/17

Al Maalomah, “Federal police cleansed three neighborhoods southeast of Mosul,” 1/13/17
- "Freed Hadbaa and Madraa in the left coast of the city of Mosul," 1/13/17

Al Mada, "Counter Terrorism freed neighborhood in Mosul's left coast," 1/13/17
- "The killing 17 Daesh members in repelling in attack southeast Mosul," 1/13/17

Murdock, Heather, “Mosul Civilians Sift Through Rubble as Coalition Takes Fiercely Held Neighborhoods,” Voice of America, 1/12/17

Neuhof, Florian, “Mosul Comes Back to Life, Even as the Deadly Battle Goes On,” Daily Beast, 1/12/17

New Sabah, “Daesh robs money from fleeing regions of Mosul and burning government offices,” 1/13/17

Rudaw, “Casualties among Iraqi armed forces sustainable, Iraqi top commander,” 1/13/17
- “LIVE UPDATES: Iraqi forces gaining significant ground in Mosul,” 1/13/17

Shafaaq News, “What was witnessed on the Mosul front during the past 17 hours,” 1/13/17

Al Sumaria, “War media cell: Daesh blows up bridges to hinder our progress toward the right side of Mosul,” 1/13/17

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces advance in IS stronghold, recapture Mosul University," 1/13/17



Friday, January 13, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 88, Jan 12, 2017


Three areas in east Mosul were liberated, while the Iraqi forces (ISF) were battling over others. Sumer in the south was taken for the third time in January by the Rapid Reaction force. In the north, the Golden and 16th Division liberated Bab Shamiss and Ain al-Damalaga. Part of Tamim was also cleared. The Federal Police and Rapid Reaction forces were fighting to take the rest of southeast Mosul. A spokesman for the Federal Police told the press that the east bank of the Tigris would soon be under control.

In the west the sixth stage of operations by the Hashd and police got underway. Three towns were taken south of Tal Abta. The Hashd and ISF are stuck going through these small villages because the army has made no effort to free Tal Afar, which the Hashd surrounded weeks ago. That leaves it to traverse through the western region.

Reports of the collapse of the Islamic State continued. Face Iraq said that IS fighters were fleeing east Mosul for the west scurrying across the Tigris River. The Iraqi air forces has been hitting the boats ferrying them across the waterway. Iraq Oil Report had another story that the differences between the Iraqi and foreign fighters was growing. Lastly, Al Maalomah reported that foreign and Iraqi members have been fighting each other. As pressure has increased upon the group these cracks have begun to grow bigger and bigger. Whether that will carry over to the battle for western Mosul is a major question.

Despite those problems IS is still attacking and causing casualties. During the day 42 people were killed and 5 wounded by shelling, two suicide bombers, and three car bombs.

A Coalition air strike was blamed for losses in west Mosul as well. Airwars that monitors civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria by the Coalition had 21 dead and 14 wounded from such a incident. U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande pointed out that 47% of all the casualties in the Mosul campaign have been civilians. Most of those have been due to IS shelling and gunfire and Coalition air strike. The Iraqi forces have also picked up their air strikes and artillery fire on east Mosul likely adding to those numbers.

The number of people registered as displaced continued to rise at a high pace. From January 6 to January 9 that figure went from 133,302 to 139,776, a 6,474 increase. Since the Mosul operation re-started at the end of 2016 people signing up with aid groups and the government has nearly doubled from around 3,000 per week to 6,000. That does not include the thousands of people moving back and forth within Mosul. Many people have heard of the tough conditions in displaced camps, the screening they have to go through which might mean male family members being detained and held incommunicado, along with the fact that they can’t leave the camps once they entered, and have decided to take their chances within the city.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Hashd militia liberates 3 villages near Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/12/17
- "IS shells residential district near Mosul, 23 civilian casualties," Iraqi News, 1/12/17
- “Security forces liberate Salam Distirct in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/12/17

Airwars, "January 12th, 2017: New Mosul neighbourhood, Mosul, Nineveh province, Iraq"

Buratha News, “Federal Police liberating the southern edge of the left coast of Mosul,” 1/12/17
- “War Media Cell: three car bombs blown up killing 15 terrorists and brought down drone in Mosul,” 1/12/17

Davison, John and Kalin, Stephen, “Iraqi forces link up north Mosul, make gains in southeast,” Reuers, 1/12/17

Face Iraq, “Military sources: Daesh organization fled their positions in the left coast of Mosul,” 1/12/17
- "Security forces liberated Mithaq, Sumer, Jaffa and stormed Dumiz neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul," 1/3/17

International Organization for Migration, “Iraq: Displacement Tracking Matrix, Emergency Tracking – Fact Sheet #11 – Mosul Operations from 17 October to 12 January,” 1/12/17

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul, Dec. 10, 2016," 12/10/16
- "Inside Mosul: Jan. 12, 2017," 1/12/17

Kalin, Stephen, “Bombed Mosul bridge still lifeline for long-suffering civilians,” Reuters, 1/11/17

Al Maalomah, “Large splits between members of foreign and Arab Dash in central Mosul,” 1/12/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, "3 refugees killed in Islamic State bombing in Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/12/17
- "Senior Islamic State member, five suiciders killed in central Mosul airstrike," Iraqi News, 1/12/17
- "Update: Iraqi troops liberate 28 districts in eastern Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/9/16

NINA, "Security forces impose full control over Wahda and Sumer southeast Mosul," 1/5/17

Sobir, Shoguna, “70-80% of Eastern Part of Mosul Liberated: US Army Official,” Bas News, 1/12/17

Al Sumaria, "War Media Cell: three car bombs blown up killing 15 terrorists and brought down drone in Mosul," 1/12/17

UN News Centre, “Humanitarian crisis in Mosul could outlive Iraqi military operations, senior UN official warns,” 1/11/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces gain ground as troops push into IS stronghold in Mosul,” 1/12/17


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 87, Jan 11, 2017


More and more neighborhoods are falling to government forces. The Federal Police took Salam for the third time and Sahiron in the southeast. The Golden Division freed Nisan 7 in the northeast, and began its assault upon Mosul University. Elements of that unit liberated Siha in the east for the third time, Maliya in the south along the Tigris River and Sadiq for the second time along with the Rapid Reaction Forces in the south. Sumer, which was declared liberated twice this month, was actually still contested, but the Federal Police said they were now in control of 75% of it. The Iraqi forces were still trying to seize Palestine, Yarmja and Hadbaa, all of which have been called freed before. The Iraqi Forces (ISF) has a bad habit or declaring neighborhoods liberated before they are, sometimes before they’re even reached. Despite that problem a majority of east Mosul is now under Iraqi control.

In an important development the army and Golden Division finally met up in northeast Mosul. That happened in the Hadbaa district when units from the 16th Division greeted members of the Counter Terrorism forces.

The quick advances in recent days has led more and more Iraqi officials to predict the fall of east Mosul. National Security Adviser Falah al-Fayad, deputy commander of the 9th Division General Walid al-Khalifa, and the Joint Operations Command all told the press that they expected the Left Coast of the city to be freed in a matter of days. The operation is still behind the bold predictions of Prime Minister Haider Abadi who believed the entire city could be taken by the end of 2016, but the recent victories are seizing far more territory compared to the previous two months.

The signs are there that the Islamic State’s defenses are breaking. The head of the Joint Operations Command General Talib Shaghait, 9th Division deputy commander General Khalifa, and U.S. Colonel Brett Sylvia all noted that the number of car bombs being launched is way down. Sylvia said that at the start of the Mosul campaign there were an average of 10 vehicle bombs per day with half of them causing casualties. Now there was just 1-2 each day and only one in six hitting its target. You wouldn’t know there was such a dramatic drop in such attacks if you just read the press releases by the ISF. In the first week of January for example they claimed 16 car bombs per day. That was just more exaggerating however.

There were other examples of IS’s problems. More fighters were withdrawing from the Left to Right Bank. Those were mostly Iraqis as the foreigners were staying. Some locals told New Sabah that insurgents were asking people for provisions.

Finally, the ISF has adapted to the urban fighting as well. Before Iraqi units were moving in large vehicle columns through the city. Those were slow and easy to hit. Now the forces are moving by foot. They are also using spikes and cratering roads along with older tactics like employing bulldozers to create berms all meant to slow down and impede vehicle bombs. Finally, there are four different forces in Mosul, the Golden Division, the army, the Federal Police, and the Rapid Reaction forces. At first, none of these units were coordinating. Now the U.S. has pushed them towards greater cooperation with weekly meetings of commanders. Finally, the multi-front push on Mosul was abandoned for concentrating just on the eastern side.

To the west in the Tal Afar district the Hashd are ramping up to re-start operations. Reinforcements are arriving for a sixth stage. What that entails has not been divulged yet, but it will likely mean taking more small towns, as the Hashd cannot enter Tal Afar itself. The army and police are supposed to do that, which means the Hashd are left to clearing the district.

In Qayara south of Mosul there are still oil wells burning. These were set alight by the Islamic State as it abandoned the area back in October. The Oil Ministry has been hard at work trying to douse the flames, but there are still many ablaze causing a huge amount of environmental damage. So far the ministry has put out 17 wells.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Joint security forces besiege Mosul University: Official," Iraqi News, 1/11/17

AIN, “Freed new neighborhoods in Mosul and kill 347 Daash today [Revised], 1/11/17

Bas News, "Mosul: Iraqi Forces Liberate Three More Neighbourhoods," 1/8/17

Buratha News, “Field commander: freed 90% of the districts in the left coast of Mosul,” 1/11/17
- “Yarallah outlines developments in the field during operations to liberate Mosul until 20:10 pm Wednesday, 11 01 2017,” 1/11/17

Face Iraq, “Joint Iraqi forces impose control over 85% of the left coast of the city of Mosul – report,” 1/11/17
- "Security forces liberated Mithaq, Sumer, Jaffa and stormed Dumiz neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul," 1/3/17

George, Susannah, “Top Iraqi commander: Mosul could be liberated in 3 months,” Associated Press, 1/11/17

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul, Dec. 7, 2016," 12/7/16
- "Inside Mosul: Jan. 4, 2017," 1/4/17
- "Inside Mosul: Jan. 11, 2017," 1/11/17
- "Inside Mosul, Nov. 21, 2016," 11/21/16

Al Maalomah, “The destruction of many car bombs during the daily operations, Ninewa, We Are Coming,” 1/11/17

Al Masalah, “Fayad: the battle for the left coast of Mosul will be resolved soon,” 1/11/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Iraqi army, police recapture 3 eastern Mosul districts on Wednesday," Iraqi News, 1/11/17
- "Iraqi forces recapture 3 eastern Mosul districts," Iraqi News, 1/9/17
- "Iraqi forces storm more districts in Mosul, chemical counter-attacks feared," Iraqi News, 1/11/17

New Sabah, “Daesh members fleeing: We have not eaten in three days,” 1/11/17

NINA, "Security forces impose full control over Wahda and Sumer southeast Mosul," 1/5/17

Rojkan, Mira, "Joint Forces Continue to Advance, Liberating More Areas in Mosul," Bas News, 12/4/16

Rudaw, “Iraqi army adopts tactic of marching on foot into ISIS sectors of Mosul,” 1/11/17
- “US commander hails Iraqi forces beating ISIS drones and VBIEDs,” 1/11/17

Shafaaq News, “Free 90 percent of Mosul and two districts as Daesh gunmen flee,” 1/11/17
- “Meeting of the army for the first time in Mosul,” 1/11/17

Sotaliraq, "Federal Police control 75% of Sumer neighborhood and kill tens of Daash," 1/11/17

UN News Centre, “Humanitarian crisis in Mosul could outlive Iraqi military operations, senior UN official warns,” 1/11/17

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces advance further into IS stronghold in Mosul," 1/11/17



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 86, Jan 10, 2017


The Iraqi Forces (ISF) continued their march through eastern Mosul. Dhubbat in the south, Sukar in the north, and Masjid al-Saegh were all freed during the day. This was the fourth time Sukar was said to be liberated, the most recent being January 8. Several government buildings were seized as well neighboring Dhubbat. There was still fighting for Sumer, Salam, and Hadbaa. The next big move is to take the Mosul University in the north. The Golden Division is trying to surround the area in preparation for laying siege to it. There are reports of IS fighters giving up their positions and retreating to the western side of the city facilitating the ISF advances.

The Islamic State was busy trying to impede the advances of the government forces and people fleeing their control, while destroying sections of Mosul. The group set off explosives on two of the five bridges that span the Tigris in the center of the city. The U.S. Coalition has hit all of the spans, but not so much that the government couldn’t repair them in the future. IS is now trying to make them collapse so that the ISF cannot employ them to assault the western section of the city. The group was destroying some government buildings as well. Off and on the militants have been blowing up public facilities in a mini scorched earth campaign to deny them to the Iraqi authorities. In east Mosul the Islamic State was forcing people out of their homes trying to make them retreat with it to the west. 9 civilians were executed for refusing to go. The organization has used civilians as human shields since the Mosul campaign started in the middle of October. In the southeast in Palestine and Sumer the army and police reported that IS was firing on civilians trying to escape the fighting. Those that have chosen not to remain under its rule have been consistently targeted by small arms fire, mortars, and rockets. In a related note, the water pumps in the city remain under IS control, and it has cut off water to 30 areas in eastern Mosul. Finally, there were stories of the militants executing people across eight parts of east Mosul. That included both civilians and IS fighters who were charged of treason and espionage.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Islamic State detonates 2 bridges to hinder advance of security forces," Iraqi News, 1/10/17

AIN, “Security forces liberated more neighborhoods in Mosul, killing 193 Daash today [Revised],” 1/10/17
- "Urgent counterterrorism forces liberate Kafat neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul," 12/3/16

Bas News, "Mosul: Iraqi Forces Liberate Three More Neighbourhoods," 1/8/17

Buratha News, “Aarallah team outlines the latest developments in the field during liberation operations in Mosul until 19:50 pm Tuesday 10 01 2017,” 1/10/17

Face Iraq, "Security forces liberated Mithaq, Sumer, Jaffa and stormed Dumiz neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul," 1/3/17

Faraj, Salam and Decamme, Guillaume, “Iraq eyes recapture of east Mosul within days,” Agence France Presse, 1/9/17

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Jan. 10, 2017,” 1/10/17

Kalin, Stephen and Davison, John, “Iraqi forces advance in Mosul but civilian toll mounts,” Reuters, 1/10/17

Al Mada, "Freed important government buildings in Mosul including Investment Authority and Nineveh Electricity," 1/10/17

Al Masalah, "Daesh blow up a number of government buildings in Mosul," 1/10/17
- “Freed Dhubbat neighborhood in left coast of Mosul,” 1/10/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Army forces recapture al-Sukkar district, east of Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/10/17
-"Iraqi forces advance further in eastern Mosul, bring down landmark IS flag," Iraqi News, 1/10/17
- “Islamic State reportedly in western Mosul execution spree over “treason,”” Iraqi News, 1/10/17
- “Islamic State withholding water from 30 eastern Mosul districts,” Iraqi News, 1/10/17

New Sabah, “Counter-terrorism forces encircled the University of Mosul and Dhubbat neighborhood stormed in preparation for purging Daesh,” 1/10/17

NINA, “Daesh Evacuates Residents Of Areas That Are Still Under Its Control By Force To The Right Side Of Mosul,” 1/9/17
- "Security forces impose full control over Wahda and Sumer southeast Mosul," 1/5/17
- "Security Forces Liberate Sukkar Area North Of Mosul," 12/15/16

Shafaaq News, “Iraqi forces massing to break into the Kiraj area of Mosul,” 1/10/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces recapture 3 neighborhoods from IS in Mosul,” 1/10/17


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 85, Jan 9, 2017


The Islamic State’s defenses finally appeared to be breaking in east Mosul. The Federal and Rapid Reaction police freed Dumiz and Palestine in the southeast, while the Golden Division also took Baladiyat in the northeast. The latter was seizing the ground around the Mosul University next door for an eventual assault. Sukar to the north of that neighborhood has been declared liberated three times, but was still being fought over. Furqan and Atibaa, which were freed on January 7, are now being cleared. A member of the Ninewa Council claimed that 85% of the eastern half of the city was now under government control. That may be too high, but the majority of the Left Coast is definitely now occupied.

General Najm al-Jabouri from the Ninewa Operations Command and the Golden Division spokesman Sabah Numan both speculated that east Mosul could be freed in days. Whether its days or weeks it definitely looks like half of the city will be taken this month.

The Islamic State is still putting up a fight for every neighborhood. The militants were shooting at displaced families attempting to flee the fighting in Sumer and Wahda. Four car bombs in Palestine, 3 in Dumiz and Palestine, and one each in Baladiyat and Furqan were destroyed. Mortar and rocket fire on Muthanna, Rafaq, Wahda and some unknown locations killed six civilians and wounded 16 others. Finally, the insurgents attacked the Hashd in Adaya in the Tal Afar district.

For the last two days Iraq Oil Report had stories about Iraqi and foreign members of the Islamic State fighting each other. On January 8, Iraqis wanted to retreat to west Mosul from Sumer and Yarmja, but the foreigners refused to let them and opened fire to stop them. On January 9 they were reportedly arguing over evicting locals to turn their homes into firing positions. Since the day the Mosul operation began in October 2016 there have been stories of IS fighters and their families fleeing the city. None of that seemed to affect the sturdy defense the group was able to mount. IS turning on itself however if confirmed, could an important split.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Federal Police forces kill 40 IS militants, destroy 4 car bombs near Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/9/17

AIN, “Freed three neighborhoods in the left coast of Mosul and killed 267 Daash today,” 1/9/17
- “Popular crowd kill ten Daash in foiled attack west of Mosul,” 1/9/17
- “Urgent..freed the entire district of Baladiyat in the left coast of Mosul,” 1/9/17

Buratha News, “Freed three neighborhoods in the left coast of Mosul and killed 267 Daash today,” 1/9/17
- “Recent development in the field during the liberation of Mosul until 19:15 Monday 09 01 2017,” 1/9/17

Face Iraq, “Sami Aradi: Anti-Terrorism Forces surrounded University of Mosul preparing to storm it,” 1/9/17

Hennessy-Fiske, Molly, “Iraqi troops reach Tigris River, but more challenges ahead in battle for Mosul,” Los Angeles Times, 1/9/17

Iraq oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Jan. 8, 2017,” 1/8/17
- “Inside Mosul: Jan. 9, 2017,” 1/9/17

Kalin, Stephen and Coles, Isabel, “Iraq special forces advance in east Mosul, close to linking with army,” Reuters, 1/9/17

Knights, Michael, “Mosul battle: Iraq gaining momentum against IS,” BBC, 1/9/17

Al Maalomah, “Nineveh Council announced the liberation of 85% of the left coast of Mosul and nearing the launch of attacking the right coast,” 1/9/17

Al Masalah, “Counter-terrorism forces progressing to control the left coast of Mosul,” 1/9/17
- “Freed entire neighborhood of Palestine west Mosul,” 1/9/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Infant killed, mother wounded by Islamic State fire in Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/9/17
- "Iraqi forces recapture 3 eastern Mosul districts," Iraqi News, 1/9/17
- "Militias say killed 10 Islamic State militants west of Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/9/17

New Sabah, “Anti-Terrorism forces free Baladiyat in east Mosul and raise the Iraqi flag over its buildings,” 1/9/17

Rudaw, "ISIS mortar shell rips through Mosul family as they flee for safety," 1/9/17

Shafaaq News, “Statement: 267 militants killed during fighting Daesh on Monday,” 1/9/17
- “Statement: Access to the bank of the Tigris and killed tens of Daash in the day’s battles,” 1/9/17


Monday, January 9, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 84, Jan 8, 2017


The Iraqi Forces (ISF) continued to advance in east Mosul finally reaching the Tigris River, which bisects the city. The Golden Division attacked the Sukar and Baladiyat neighborhoods in the northeast, and the Sumer and Dumiz areas in the southeast by the 9th Division, Federal Police and Rapid Reaction forces. The ISF was still applying pressure on Kindi in the north, and Wahda, Dumiz and Palestine in the south as well. By the end of the day Sadiq, Baladiyat, and Sukar were unofficially declared freed, the residential district of Hadbaa was cleared, and the Tigris River in the south and Mosul University in the north were reached, and the ISF were heading towards the Ninewa Ruins in the northeast. Sadiq was a new neighborhood reached, while this was the third time Sukar might have been liberated. Baladiyat was entered at the end of the December when the Mosul campaign was restarted.

In the Tal Afar district to the west of Mosul the Hashd were still waiting for orders to launch their sixth phase. The Hashd are in limbo as there is an agreement between Turkey and Baghdad to not allow them to take the town of Tal Afar itself. That means they are stuck taking small towns in the district. They freed two more on the day.

The Islamic State was still putting up stiff resistance. The Federal Police were attacked in the southeast. A car bomb exploded in Ghufron killing two. Four other vehicle bombs in Hadbaa, four leading to the Fourth Bridge in the southeast, and three in Palestine and Dumiz were destroyed. Two towns in the Tal Afar district and the airport were assaulted as well. The militants also destroyed several buildings and a hospital in Mosul University.

SOURCES

Al Aalem, “People of liberated district describe for Al Aalem the final moments of their liberation yesterday,” 1/8/17

Adel, Loaa, "Iraqi forces reach east bank of Tigris in Mosul: Iraqi officer," Iraqi News, 1/8/17
- “Islamic state burns Khansa Hospital and some buildings of Mosul University,” Iraqi News, 1/8/17
- "Security forces repel IS attack north of Mosul, 10 militants killed," Iraqi News, 1/8/17

AIN, "Forces liberated today up to the bank of the Tigris in Mosul, killing 187 Daash [Revised]," 1/8/17
- “Urgent counterterrorism forces liberate Kafat neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul,” 12/3/16

Bas News, "Mosul: Iraqi Forces Liberate Three More Neighbourhoods," 1/8/17

Buratha News, “Freed health clinic in Sukar neighborhood left coast of Mosul,” 1/8/17
- “Popular crowd announces results of operations and confirms ready to launch sixth stage,” 1/8/17
- “Recent developments in the field during the process of liberating Mosul until 15:55 pm Sunday 08 01 2017,” 1/8/17
- “Recent developments in the field during the process of liberating Mosul until 16:00 pm Sunday 08 01 2017,” 1/8/17

Iraq News Network, Counter Terrorism Services: our troops reached the outskirts of Mosul University," 1/8/17

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Jan. 7, 2017,” 1/7/17
- “Inside Mosul: Jan. 8, 2017,” 1/8/17

Al Maalomah, "Federal police kill four Daash north Mosul," 1/8/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Iraqi forces charge at new districts northeast, southeast of Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/8/17

Mousa, Ahmad, “Iraq forces in Mosul punch to Tigris for first time,” Agence France Presse, 1/8/17

NINA, “/7/ civilians killed in bombing by Daesh, and the Iraqi forces stormed two residential buildings in the northern axis of Mosul,” 12/28/16
- “Security Forces Liberate Sukkar Area North Of Mosul,” 12/15/16

Reuters, “Iraqi special forces reach Tigris river in Mosul: spokesman,” 1/8/17

Rudaw, “Iraqi forces reach the Tigris River in Mosul,” 1/18/17

Shafaaq News, "Killing of a doctor and his son by a roadside bomb near their home southeast Mosul," 1/8/17

Sotaliraq, "Popular crowd repels Daesh attack west of Mosul," 1/8/17

Al Sumaria, “Member of Nineveh Council: The joint forces approaching full control of the left coast of Mosul,” 1/8/17


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News

 
I was mentioned in “Iraqi coalition forces ‘won’t be able to defeat Isis’ until summer,” in The Independent, and Breitbart re-did a Rudaw article I was interviewed in. 

Mosul Campaign Day 83, Jan 7, 2017


For the first time new areas of Mosul were freed by the Iraqi forces (ISF). January 6 Muthanna in the northeast was declared freed by the Golden Division, but there was still fighting there the next day. That was followed by Atibaa 1 and 2 and Rafaq being taken next door. The housing district in Hadbaa farther north was also liberated. In the southeast the Salah and Shafaa Hospitals in Wahda were freed by the Federal Police and Rapid Reaction forces, and the adjoining Ghufran neighborhood by the Golden Division. That unit was also securing the roads leading to the Fourth Bridge the southernmost span across the Tigris in Mosul. A spokesman for the Division said that it was only 500 meters away from the bridge. Reuters saw U.S. advisers near the front working with the ISF, coordinating HIMAR rocket fire from the Qayara base south of the city. Muthanna, Rafaq, Hadbaa, and Wahda had been entered in November and December and been declared freed several times before. The other three neighborhoods were new however.

A member of the Ninewa council claimed that 88% of east Mosul was how under Iraqi control. That might to be too optimistic, but more of the city was now occupied by government forces. He said Islamic State units were still in Sukar, Baladiyat, Hadbaa, Shurta and Mosul University in the east.

As usual there were Islamic State attacks throughout the city. 2 Suicide bombers were killed and 4 car bombs destroyed in Ghufron, and 3 more suicide bombers in Wahda as well. 3 vehicles bombs in Rafaq, 6 in the southeast, and 2 in Hadbaa were blown up, and 8 more dismantled in the last area. 9 people were killed by mortar fire, and 11 by rockets.

Coalition or Iraqi air strikes were blamed for several casualties as well. 15 civilians killed and 12 wounded in one incident, and 5 deaths in another.

Finally, there were more stories of Islamic State members and families trying to flee Mosul.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, “CTS liberate 1st & 2nd neighborhoods of Ataba east of Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/7/17
- “Over 60 IS families fled from western side of Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/7/17

Agence France Presse, “Iraq forces near Tigris River in Mosul,” 1/7/17

Al Alam, “VIDEO: 50 ISIS Terrorists Killed, Al Muthanna Recaptured in eastern Mosul,” 1/7/17

Bas News, “Iraqi Forces Closest Ever To the Tigris in Mosul,” 1/7/17
- "Iraqi Forces Liberate Further Area in Central Mosul," 1/7/17

BBC, “Mosul battle: Iraqi troops ‘take key district’ from IS,” 1/6/17

Buratha News, “Recent developments in the field during the liberation of Mosul until 16:10 pm: Saturday 07 01 2017,” 1/7/17

Coles, Isabel, “Entering Mosul from north, Iraqi army faces grueling urban combat,” Reuters, 1/7/17

Face Iraq, “Ninewa We Are Coming Operations announced freeing Rafaq and Ghufran on the left coast of Mosul in the fight against terrorism,” 1/7/17

Kalin, Stephen and Rasheed, Ahmed, “Iraqi forces close in on Tigris in Islamic State stronghold Mosul,” Reuters, 1/7/17

Al Maalomah, “Commander of Ninewa Operations: Iraqi troops descended upon Daesh at night,” 1/7/17
- “Federal Police free nine neighborhoods in left coast of Mosul and stresses fully liberate rest of city within 3 days,” 1/7/17
- “Liberation of a number of neighborhoods and killed tens of Daash,” 1/7/17
- “Freed Ghufran neighborhood, former Baath, left coast of Mosul,” 1/7/17
- "Liberation of a number of neighborhoods and killed tens of Daash," 1/7/17

Al Mada, “Army enters Mosul from the north for the first time.. and Daesh attack freed areas with mortars,” 1/8/17
- "Dismantling eight car bombs north Mosul," 1/7/17
- “Federal Police compensate for army setback by taking Salam Hospital from Daesh,” 1/8/17
- "Three suicide bombers killed repelling attack southeast Mosul," 1/7/17

Al Masalah, "The death of 27 civilians in wrong air strike east Mosul," 1/7/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Army recaptures eastern Mosul district as anti-IS operations proceed,” Iraqi News, 1/7/17
- “Security forces seize IS command quarters, prisons in eastern Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/7/17

NINA, “Breaking News…Rapid Reaction Forces Liberate Salam Hospital In Mosul,” 1/6/17

Reuters, “Iraqi forces close in on Tigris in IS stronghold Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/7/17

Rudaw, “ISIS in Mosul becoming ‘desperate’ as Iraqi forces approach Tigris,” 1/7/17

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Turkish PM visits Iraq amid spat over unauthorized troops," Associated Press, 1/7/17

Shafaaq News, "9 civilians killed in Daesh bombing of Algiers neighborhood in Mosul," 1/17/17
Shafaaq News, "Killing two women and three children in wrong bombing of targets west of Mosul," 1/7/17
- "Urgent..11 people killed in Daesh pounding of residential neighborhood in Mosul," 1/7/17

Al Sumaria, “Member of Nineveh Council: the joint forces tightened their grip almost entirely on left coast of Mosul,” 1/7/17
- “Yarallah: Dawn of Daesh on the fourth bridge in Mosul after our force control the intersection leading to it,” 1/7/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces gain ground in Mosul, enter northern city for first time,” 1/7/17