Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 62, Dec 17, 2016


More units were shifting into east Mosul to assist the Golden Division free that section of the city. The Aafara area in the southeast was freed by elements of the 9th Division and Ninewa police. Other units from the 9th now backed by the Golden Division and police were still attempting to re-take the Salam Hospital in the Wahda neighborhood. The 9th Division originally seized the facility on December 6, while attempting a pincer movement in the eastern section, but they ended up being ambushed by the Islamic State, and had to make a costly retreat. Since December 14 they have been trying to recapture it. There have also been the usual deadly IS counterattacks throughout the Left Bank. On December 16 eight neighborhoods were attacked with eight car bombs being destroyed. On December 17 13 neighborhoods were involved in fighting with 3 car bombs hitting their targets, and another 7 destroyed. Early reports had 61 civilians being killed, and 15 wounded. IS also beheaded 2 individuals. As the southern, northern and western fronts have stalled the government has began moving units from the first two to the east where the Golden Division initially entered the city by itself on orders from Baghdad. Without pressure on the other sides the Islamic State has been able to concentrate all its forces on the east with deadly consequences. That along with the government’s decision to tell the population to stay in their homes because it could not handle an outflow of displaced has meant the fighting has been extremely difficult and slow. Despite that the Iraqi forces are in roughly 40% of the east side of the city with more than half freed.

In the west, the Hashd repulsed an IS attack, while in the south the Iraqi forces were preparing to finally move. West of Tal Afar the insurgents launched an attack led by car bombs and other vehicles. 9 car bombs were destroyed as the attempt was turned back. The Hashd are holding ground and clearing towns in the district waiting for the Iraqi army and federal police to take Tal Afar, but there is no sign when that will happen. In the west, the Federal Police shelled the town of Abu Saif. That is the first goal before they move on the Mosul airport and the city itself. This front has been stalled for over a month, but now there are initial signs that they are going to get back into the fight, hopefully sooner rather than later.

In the Gogjali suburb in east Mosul a police station was re-opened. This was the first in the area as the Baghdad is attempting to re-establish some form of governance in Mosul.

There are continued reports of shortages and displacement within the city. Food is running law, markets have little to nothing, and what there is keeps going up in price. This is putting an added strain on the civilian population who either can’t go elsewhere due to the militants or are stuck in the fighting. Even areas that have been freed are facing a lack of supplies and services. 200 people did escape IS and fled to Gogjali. This is part of the on going internal displacement within the city. Some people have decided to get out overall, but most appear to be moving within the sprawl of Mosul attempting to find safe places to get away from the violence.

Finally, an officer from the Golden Division talked with the press about how the campaign was going. He said that Mosul was unlike Ramadi and Fallujah where many of the IS fighters fled. Another difference was that the Iraqi forces were having to balance fighting to clear areas and dealing with the civilian population. Finally he said the fighting was a war of streets with slow progress.

SOURCES

AIN, "The popular crowd destroyed 11 vehicles including car bombs in frustrated Daesh attack west of Tal Afar," 12/17/16

Al Alam, "Battle VIDEO: Iraqi Forces Repel 4 ISIS Attacks in Mosul, Killing 174 Terrorists," 12/17/16
- "Iraqi Forces Establish Control over Key Hospital in Western Mosul," 12/6/16

Bas News, "27 IS Militants, Including Commanders, Killed in Mosul,"
- "IS Takes Revenge on Civilians in Mosul," 12/17/16

Buratha News, “Recent developments in the field during liberation operations until 10:20 pm Saturday, 17 12 2016,” 12/17/16

Face Iraq, "Medical sources: the martyrdom and wounding of more than 40 civilians by unknown artillery fire targeting central and southern Mosul," 12/17/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul, Dec. 17, 2016," 12/17/16

Al Maalomah, "Anti-Terrorism forces repel Dash attack and killed eight of them east Mosul," 12/17/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, "5 soldiers, tens of ISIS dead in eastern Mosul battles," Iraqi News, 12/14/16

Shafaq News, “Dozens of residents fleeing from the grip of Daesh towards the Iraqi forces,” 12/17/16
- “Golden Division announces details on the front and the quality of Daesh gunmen in Mosul,” 12/17/16
- "Statement: Killing of 174 Daesh repelleing attacks," 12/16/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces repel 4 IS attacks in Mosul, killing 174 extremists militants," 12/17/16


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