Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day Ten, Oct 26, 2016


The Iraqi and Peshmerga forces were back at work on the tenth day of the Mosul operation. Several more towns were freed, but this was more consolidation of the front before the second phase of the campaign was launched. The Hashd are also going to enter the fray soon. In Mosul there were more mass executions by the Islamic State, and over 10,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, although several thousand had also been able to return.

The joint forces were gaining more ground on October 26. The Golden Division east of Mosul took the town of Khaza, which it claimed it had freed two days before. Army units moving from the south and east liberated five towns plus a gas plant in Tal Kief. Finally, the Peshmerga took five villages east of Mosul, but one of those was said to have been gone through three days before. The joint forces have a bad habit of claiming towns are freed before they are even reached or while fighting is still going on within them. These moves were the last in the first phase of the Mosul operation, and meant to stabilize the front. The next step will include the first action on the western front with the Hashd and Federal Police taking on Tal Afar. Asaib Ahl Al-Haq said they would be in the lead for that operation.

In Mosul there are conflicting stories about Islamic State fighters. Since the start of the campaign there have been plenty of news reports that Islamic State members were leaving the city. Then there have been others that they are sending in reinforcements. Which of these is true will not be determined until the city is assaulted.

IS was also accused of more executions. On October 25 there were stories that up to 208 people were killed by the group. On October 26, there was a report that 332 had died in Hamam Al-Alil and another town. Two main explanations have been given for why IS is executing so many people. One was that they were carrying out a type of scorched earth policy of killing civilians from towns they had to give up to the government. The other was that they had taken several hundred people as human shields to protect their retreat. After their purpose was served IS then got rid of them by shooting them. It is impossible to confirm these accounts right now.

Different organizations are still announcing different figures for the number of displaced from the Mosul campaign. The Iraqi Red Crescent took in 2,000 people in Al-Khazer camp north of the city. Most of them came from villages east of Mosul. The United Nations gave the largest overall number so far of 10,500. Most of those are not in camps but being hosted by other people. It also noted that there is a huge ebb and flow of civilians around Mosul with over 3,000 having gone back to their homes almost immediately after they were freed by the joint forces. This was mostly to the south of Mosul. Finally, the UNHCR was flying in 7,000 tents from Dubai and Amman to house displaced. On October 24 an Iraqi parliamentarian on the displacement committee complained that many internal refugees were living out in the elements because the government had stolen the money meant to aid them due to corruption.

SOURCES

Al Aalem, "War Media: freed Tilkaif Gas Plant," 10/26/16

Bas News, "Iraqi Security Forces Advancing Towards Central Mosul," 10/24/16
- “New IDPs from Mosul at Risk: Iraqi MP,” 10/24/16
- "Peshmerga Liberates Another Christian Village Near Mosul," 10/26/16

Buratha News, "Iraqi army frees village south of Mosul," 10/26/16

eKurd, "Iraqi Kurdistan News in brief - October 26, 2016," 10/26/16

Al-Ghazi, Muhannad, “Anti-IS troops are gaining ground on multiple fronts in Iraq,” Al Monitor, 10/25/16

Iraq Red Crescent Society, “2,000 displaced people flee from villages eastern of Mosul to Al-khazer camp,” 10/26/16

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Oct. 26, 2016,” 10/26/16

Iraqi News, "Peshmerga forces recapture Dirk village near Bashiqa," 10/26/16

Kharmees, Ahmed, "Mosul Operation: First Stage Ended," Bas News, 10/26/16

Al Masalah, "Daesh executed 332 civilians in Hamam al-Alil and village of Aeryj in Mosul," 10/26/16

NINA, "Peshmerga Clash with Daesh in Ba'shiqah, liberate villages 2 Villages north of Mosul," 10/23/16

NRT TV, "Iraqi Troops Continue Clearing Villages Around Mosul," 10/26/16

Rudaw, “UPDATES: Mosul offensive day 10,” 10/26/16

Shafaq News, "Source: Daesh executed 20 policemen and hold about 70 other soldiers, Hama Al-Alil south of Mosul," 10/26/16

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Iraq: Mosul Humanitarian Response Situation Report #3 (23-25 October 2016),” 10/26/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces advance closer to new positions outside IS-held Mosul," 10/26/16

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