Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day Thirty-One, Nov 16, 2016


Two new neighborhoods of Mosul were entered, but otherwise there was continued heavy fighting in the eastern side of the city. The Golden Division attacked Siha and Dahabiya. That unit plus the 9th Division were still fighting in Intisar, Judaydat al-Mufti, Salam, Younis Sabawi, Aden, Khadra, and Tahrir. Bakr was also declared freed for the second time. All of these areas have been contested for days with Aden and Tahrir liberated once each, Intisar twice, and Khadra three times. An officer in the 9th Division interviewed by Rudaw said that its armored vehicles and tanks had been bottled up in the city by anti-tank missiles, and needed infantry support to hold the flanks. This fits with an analysis by Petri Makela mentioned yesterday that the Iraq forces’ (ISF) columns have been vulnerable to ambush points set up by the militants. The ISF have definitely been making gains in the city, but have been brought back to the same areas again and again because of re-infiltration and perhaps because some of them were never fully cleared to begin with.

In the south other elements of the 9th Division and Federal Division were also making progress. Together they freed four new towns.

Finally, in the southwest the Hashd liberated five villages plus the Tal Afar Airport. The assault on that last town will be next, and will help cut off Mosul from its route to Syria.

Reporters were able to enter Nimrod, south of Mosul, which was recently taken by the Iraqi forces. An army officer said the place was destroyed with most of the ancient Assyrian artifacts smashed and wrecked. The Islamic State publicized its destruction of the relics in 2015.  The destruction of many historic sites in northern Iraq is another part of IS’s legacy in the country.

The Islamic State was still executing people in areas of Mosul under is control and displacing people to build new defenses. The Iraqi Human Rights Commission received news that IS had killed 25 people over the last two days inside the city. Residents told Iraq Oil Report that the militants had forced out around 100 families from the Muharibeen neighborhood in the western section and made them go to the eastern side. IS has been moving people around to either exploit them as human shields or to use their domiciles as defensive positions.

Finally, U.S. and Kurdish officials made contradictory statements about the areas liberated by the Peshmerga. America’s Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman told the press that the Kurdish forces would withdraw from the places that they had freed after the Mosul battle. This came after a meeting with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani. Two days later the president responded that 11,500 Peshmerga had been killed and wounded to take that territory and that the Kurds had no intention of withdrawing from any Kurdish areas. The Kurdistan Regional Government KRG) has made it clear time and again that the areas that they have taken are part of the disputed areas that they claim as historically being Kurdish and that they want to annex them. The status of these places was supposed to be resolved by 2007 according to the Iraqi constitution, but never was due to political disputes between Baghdad and Irbil. The Kurds have now established authority over them, and plan on keeping the majority of them.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Anti-Terrorism Commander: We are 4 Km away from central Mosul," Iraqi News, 11/16/16
- "ISIS shelling kills, wounds 21 civilians near Mosul," Iraqi News, 11/16/16

Associated Press, "Iraqi special forces pushing deeper into east Mosul come under attack from Islamic State," 11/16/16

Bas News, "IS Attacks Civilians in Eastern Mosul," 11/16/16

Buratha News, "Western Mosul, the military operations and positions of the Day 16/11/2016," 11/16/16

Iraq News Network, “Barzani: We will not withdraw our troops from the liberated areas made by us under the agreement with Washington,” 11/16/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Nov. 1, 2016," 11/1/16
- "Inside Mosul: Nov. 5, 2016," 11/5/16
- "Inside Mosul: Nov. 12, 2016," 11/12/16
- "Inside Mosul: Nov. 16, 2016," 11/16/16

Al Mada, "16th Division destroyed two car bombs north of Mosul," 11/16/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Rights commission: ISIS executed 25 civilians in 2 days," Iraqi News, 11/16/16
- "Updated: Iraqi forces recapture village in Mosul, ISIS shell a liberated one," Iraqi News, 11/16/16

NINA, “US Ambassador To Baghdad: Peshmerga Would Withdraw From All The Liberated Areas After Liberating Mosul,” 11/14/16

Rudaw, “ISIS reportedly using anti-tank missiles against Iraqi forces in Mosul,” 11/16/16
- "LIVE UPDATES: Battle for Mosul, Day 31," 11/16/16

Tawfeeq, Mohammed and Formanek, Ingrid, "Iraqi forces recapture key air base near Mosul," CNN, 11/16/16

World Bulletin, “Iraq says ancient city of Nimrud destroyed by ISIL,” 11/16/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces clear areas freed from IS in eastern Mosul," 11/9/16
- "Iraqi forces continue anti-IS operation near Mosul," 11/16/16
- "Iraqi forces free more districts in eastern Mosul," 11/4/16
- "Spotlight: IS commanders escape from Mosul amid Iraqi troop's offensive," 10/20/16

Yahoo News, "Fierce fighting in Mosul: Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, civilians flee to safety," 11/16/16

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