The Mosul operation increased in intensity on the fourth day. The Kurds opened up a new front to the north of the city and the elite Golden Division carried out its first attack as well. Several villages were freed, while the Islamic State appeared to be putting up a much harder fight than they did initially.
First, there were some new reports of progress and violence from October 19. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) took 10 towns. Five large Islamic State counter attacks involving multiple car bombs were reported. There was also a story that rockets knocked out an Iraqi tank. In Mosul the Islamists destroyed the Ninewa Governorate building and the Nationality and Passport Directorate along with several of the group’s own offices. It also hanged three people. IS might be embarking on a scorched earth campaign in parts of Mosul to leave nothing behind after it is expelled.
On October 20 the Peshmerga re-started their operations on a new front to the north of Mosul. Peshmerga moved towards the town of Bashiqa. Members of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), an Iranian-Kurdish dissident group were seen taking part in the new offensive. The day before U.S. and English Special Forces were seen amongst the Peshmerga. Some called in air strikes to support the new attack. Nine towns were reported free during the day.
The Kurds thrust to the east was stopped, and the elite Golden Division took their place attacking Bartella. That town was declared freed, but fighting was still going on in certain regions. In the east and south of Mosul another seven towns were reported freed by the ISF.
The new thrusts by the combined forces led to some tough counter attacks by the Islamic State. Seven large ones were reported with over two dozen car bombs being used. 4 reporters were injured in two such actions. A U.S. soldier also died of his wounds from an IED. Another 24 Peshmerga were killed, 133 wounded, and two soldiers. As usual Baghdad and Irbil are not officially reporting their losses so the totals are probably much higher.
There was more news about the civilian toll of the Mosul operation. The United Nations said that around 1,900 people had fled Mosul since the start of the campaign and been registered. 900 had gone to Syria. The International Organization for Migration had a higher figure of 5,640 since October 17.
Finally, in France there was an international meeting of twenty countries looking for support for post-IS Mosul. Holland pledge $1.1 million in aid as a result.
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