The Iraqi Forces (ISF) made more dramatic advances in east Mosul on January 18. The Golden Division freed eight neighborhoods, the archaeological site in the center of the city, and attacked the Presidential Palace, declared cleared yesterday. The army freed Qadiya in the north, and attacked Arabi. The Hashd in the west took two towns as well.
The biggest news of the day was the announcement that east Mosul was freed. This was partially misinterpreted by the press and exploited by the government for propaganda. General Talib Shaghati of the Golden Division said that east Mosul had been taken. General Abdul Amir Yarallah elaborated that just meant the unit had taken all of the areas that it was assigned in the battle plan. Southeast Mosul was freed a few days ago, and now the central section is now under control as well. There was still fighting in the northeast. General Yahia Rasoul stated the Islamic State remained in four districts in the north. In fact, one major pointed out that there was still some clashes going on along the Tigris River in the center as well.
With most of east Mosul taken the focus is now beginning to shift to the west. General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi of the Golden Division was preparing to attack the other half of the city in a few days. There was some disagreement about how the next phase of the battle would go. A few Iraqi commanders believe that the west will be easier because of the heavy losses IS has suffered. The Americans are more cautions warning that it might be tougher since it is a more built up area. There’s no telling which point of view is correct until the west is assaulted.
With the recent gains the ISF is capturing a treasure trove of insurgent documents. Two communication centers were taken, and military intelligence has found huge stashes of computer files and documents, including information on foreign fighters. Some captured material showed that IS fighters didn’t want to fight and were asking for transfers to Syria and out of Mosul. These papers just support what was already witnessed on the battlefield as IS defenses collapsed in just a few days after the offensive was renewed at the end of December.
Deutsche Welle was the latest to report on how life is trying to return to normal in sections of east Mosul. In some areas people were cleaning up and trying to do some shopping, even in areas with mortar fire. In Gogjali, which is just outside of the city, life was more bustling since it was the first area freed. One problem is that the government and aid agencies have not delivered enough supplies to the liberated areas. People also do not have jobs, which means they have little money. That will likely be a major issue for several weeks since the government is unlikely to restart payment to its former workers or restore offices and services until the entire city is freed. Until that happens there will only be very small business activity as the authorities fuel buying power in the country as the largest employer.
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AIN, “New We Are Coming: freed eastern axis of Mosul, not the Left Coast,” 1/18/17
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Buratha News, "Counter terrorism forces storm the presidential palaces on the left coast of Mosul," 1/18/17
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- “Pictures: Daash documents reveal unwillingness to fight in Mosul and their desire to leave,” 1/18/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, "Command denies reports that eastern Mosul was officially liberated," Iraqi News, 1/18/17
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