The Iraqi Forces (ISF) were still fighting over the last remaining sections of northeast Mosul on January 22. All of the Arabi district was declared freed on January 21, but there was still fighting reportedly going on there the next day. The road from Mosul to Dhouk was secured, along with Malayeen for the third time. Rashidiya is the last major district left under Islamic State control. The ISF already took a town there yesterday and is shelling the rest of it. After it is liberated, the Iraqi forces will move on to the western section of the city.
Preparations for assaulting the west are already underway. Military engineers finished their preparatory work on pontoon bridges supplied by the United States, which are to be used to cross the Tigris River. A member of parliament’s security committee joined the chorus of Iraqi officials who believe that west Mosul will be simpler than the east. He said that operations there would rely more on air strikes, intelligence and proactive operations. The Americans have been much more cautious in their predictions, and right now it’s impossible to tell which way it will go.
The Americans are becoming more involved as well. Iraq Oil Report heard that U.S. Special Forces conducted a raid on Abu Khashab west of Mosul northeast of Baaj. It was not told what happened. Iraqis have been saying that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and other top members are located in the Baaj area, which might have led to the operation.
What’s left of Islamic State defenders in the east are trying to hold on, while their brethren in the west are attempting to maintain its control. In Rashidiya, IS was forcing people out of their homes to convert hem into fire positions. Civilians trying to flee the district were fired upon. The group executed 13 people as well who refused to be used as human shields to cover the group’s retreat. In the west the insurgents were reportedly destroying their files so they would not be captured, and forcing women to give up their jewelry to help finance the group. Four women were whipped for refusing to donate anything. The militants have been using many of these tactics since the Mosul campaign started in October.
Agence France Presse ran an article about the ISF running into fewer IEDs in Mosul. With the population largely staying in place the group could not plant as many explosives as they had in other cities. While Iraqis were quoted as saying there were more bombs in Ramadi and Fallujah, that was actually incorrect as the civilians stayed in the latter as well hindering the insurgents ability to lay down IED fields and booby trapping as many cars. In Mosul, IS has tried to shift their tactics by putting IEDs in cars left behind. It also deployed far more car bombs, and has been laying down a steady stream of mortar and rocket fire as well.
A pro-Iranian Hashd leader continued the group’s animosity towards the Kurds and the Nujafis. Jawad Talabawi from Asaib Ahl Al-Haq (AAH) accused the Peshmerga and former Ninewa Governor Atheel Nujafi’s Hashd al-Watani of smuggling IS leaders to Syria. He claimed that the two were accepting bribes to help out insurgent members. Anti-Kurdish statements are a re-occurring theme amongst many of the pro-Iranian groups like AAH who are especially vitriolic towards Kurdish President Massoud Barzani. The Nujafi’s are allied with Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, and Turkey back both of them, another target of the Tehran aligned Hashd. They accuse all of them of supported the Islamic State and attempting to break up Iraq.
Adel, Loaa, “Islamic State forces women to donate gold jewelry in western Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/22/17
Buratha News, “Recent developments in the field during the process of liberation of Mosul until 17:10 pm Sunday, 22 01 2017,” 1/22/17
Dunlop, W.G., “In Mosul battle, Iraq forces face fewer IS-planted bombs,” Agence France Presse, 1/22/17
Georgy, Michael, "Iraqi forces push deeper into eastern Mosul," Reuters, 11/4/16
Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Jan. 21, 2017,” 1/22/17
Al Maalomah, “Leader in the popular crowd accused the Peshmerga and Nujafi’s Guard of smuggling Daesh leaders to Syria,” 1/22/17
- “Parliamentary security committee: the plans adopted by the security forces for Mosul battle,” 1/22/17
Al Mada, "Joint forces controlled by Dohuk road," 1/22/17
NINA, “The Security forces began bombing in preparation for the storming of Rashidiya, north of Mosul,” 1/21/17
Rudaw "Iraqi forces liberate north Mosul district after three days of heavy clashes," 1/22/17
Shafaaq News, “Army completes its preparations to erect bridges across both sides of Mosul,” 1/22/17
- “Daesh evacuates residential homes to defend their last strongholds in Mosul,” 1/22/17
- “Daesh snipers targeting civilians trying to escape from their control north Mosul,” 1/22/17
- “Freeing last neighborhoods in left coast of Mosul and control the road to Dohuk,” 1/22/17
- “Source: Daesh began to destroy and burn its government department archives in Mosul,” 1/22/17
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Mosul Humanitarian Crisis, 18 January 2017,” 1/18/17
Xinhua, "Iraqi forces clear areas freed from IS in eastern Mosul," 11/9/16
- "Iraqi forces continue fighting at last IS strongholds in eastern Mosul," 1/22/17