Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 45, Nov 30, 2016

New areas of east Mosul were freed, while others remained contested. The 16th Division, which was previously stalled on the northern front, transferred some of its forces to the east to assist the Golden Division. Together they freed the Barid neighborhood that was originally attacked on November 27. Qadisiyah 2, Mahrouq, Abadi, Akhaa 2 were all liberated, and Shuhada attacked, the 44th neighborhood entered so far. Qadisiyah 2 was another area that has been gone through before. Intisar that was said to be freed twice already, remains contested, with a Golden Division officer telling Foreign Policy that about 80% of the area was secured.

Officers from the Golden and 9th Divisions complained to the papers about the execution of the Mosul campaign. They both claimed that political pressure had pushed their units into eastern Mosul before other forces had arrived at the city as originally planned. That opened them up to attacks upon their flanks and rear by the Islamic State. The operation has run into a series of problems. The Iraqi forces were supposed to all reach Mosul and Tal Afar in the west at around the same time. The Golden Division entered east Mosul a month ago while the northern and southern fronts are stalled and Tal Afar was reached late and has still not been taken. That’s the reason why some units are being shifted to the east to help the Golden Division as they are not advancing on their own fronts.

The fighting has cut off tens of thousands of people from water in the eastern side of the city. The Iraqi forces are trying to provide for them by bringing in water on tanker trucks.

In the west the Hashd were still going through the area surrounding Tal Afar. Two more villages were liberated in the process. The Hashd are basically holding ground in the district waiting for the Iraqi forces to arrive and take Tal Afar itself.

Reuters talked with a Sunni Hashd unit, the Lions of the Tigris who were part of this thrust. The title of the article was that these fighters wanted federalism for Sunnis, but what they really stressed was their mistrust of the elite. One claimed that the Islamic State was part of a conspiracy hatched by politicians to weaken Sunnis. Another said that Sunnis needed federalism, but only under good leadership. A third said that Sunni lawmakers never visited their unit on the front. All together they gave the impression that they were fighting for a state and political class that they had no faith in. That did not bode well for the future because there was no reason for them to invest in the government after the war was over if they did not believe in it.

The New York Times ran a piece talking with Jamal Abul Younis a survivor of the killing fields in Hamam al-Alil. That town is the site of several mass graves with hundreds of victims of the Islamists. IS forced people from southern villages out of their homes to be used as human shields and herded them into Hamam al-Alil afterward. Younis saw the militants then separate former policemen and execute them.

There is a mix of people going back to their homes, while other areas remain empty in Ninewa. The town of Bashiqa was freed early on in the operation, but it remains largely abandoned. That’s because it is full of IEDs. The process of removing them is time consuming. That situation is probably being replayed in dozens of other villages across Ninewa. On the other hand the authorities reported that approximately 200 displaced families returned to Nimrod and its surrounding towns. According to aid agencies several thousand people have gone back to liberated areas. With the total number of displaced continuing to increase however, the amount of people that have returned is only about 1% of the total.

Finally, a political deal was made to secure the Ninewa Plains after Mosul is freed. The army, Hashd, and tribal fighters signed an agreement to control that area in the center of the province. That includes providing food and humanitarian aid, and to help people get back to their residences. The deal included representatives from the Shabak, Christian and Turkmen communities who once had large settlements on the plain.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Anti-Terrorism forces liberate 2nd area of Hayy al-Akhaa in Mosul," Iraqi News, 11/30/16

Arango, Tim, “Another Mass Grave Dug by ISIS in Iraq, and a Ghastly Ritual Renewed,” New York Times, 11/30/16

Bas News, "IS Shelling Results in High Casualties Among Civilians in Mosul," 11/30/16
Shafaq News, "Killing and wounding four civilians in shelling of their house in Palestine neighborhood," 11/30/16

Georgy, Michael, “Sunni tribesmen battling Islamic State demand federalism in Iraq,” Reuters, 11/30/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Nov. 1, 2016," 11/1/16
- "Inside Mosul, Nov. 27, 2016," 11/27/16
- "Inside Mosul, Nov. 30, 2016," 11/30/16

Al Maalomah, "Anti-terrorism forces repel a Daesh attack by two car bombs eastern Mosul," 11/30/16

MacDiarmid, Campbell, "Clawing Into Mosul, Block by Block," Foreign Policy, 11/30/16

Al Mada, “Agreement between the army and the popular crowd to manage the Ninewa Plain and areas to the south-east,” 11/30/16
- “The return of 200 displaced families to Nimrod area and security forces checking their names for security,” 11/30/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Al-Hashd al-Shaabi recaptures 2 villages on way to strategic spot," Iraqi News, 11/30/16
- "Police kill 26 ISIS, 1 civilian dead in shelling at Mosul," Iraqi News, 11/30/16

Neuhof, Florian, “Battle for Mosul: How IS is making life tough for Iraq’s elite forces,” Middle East Eye, 11/30/16

Rudaw, "Army says three more Mosul neighborhoods taken from ISIS," 11/30/16
- “In explosives-littered Bashiqa, residents wary of returning to homes,” 11/30/16

Shafaq News, "Urgent anti-terrorism forces attack the martyrs neighborhood," 11/30/16

Sotaliraq, "Killing one person and injuring 7 others in a Daesh rocket attack east Mosul," 11/30/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces clear areas freed from IS in eastern Mosul," 11/9/16


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