Some new areas inside and out of south Mosul were freed. On February 25 the Rapid Reaction Division said it liberated Danadan, which is north of the Mosul Airport and along the Tigris River. On February 26, the Federal Police secured the Harakiyat Ibrahimiya area, which the 9th Division had originally gone through on February 19. The Rapid Reaction and Golden Divisions also took Tayaran and Mamun respectively that are to the west of the Ghazlani camp. The Iraqi forces (ISF) then moved into the Mansour, Shuhada, and Dawas neighborhoods. The ISF were also attempting to secure the area around the Fourth Bridge so that a pontoon bridge can be constructed there across the Tigris River.
The Associated Press reported that casualties were increasing with the renewed fighting. It said 30 ISF and 200 civilians had been killed and wounded in the last three days. The ISF has said there are less car bombs then compared to east Mosul, but that’s not reflected in statements by the ISF that routinely inflate car and suicide bombings. There has also been a huge number of drone strikes. In one day there were more than 70. These usually only cause injuries rather than deaths, but they have disrupted ISF movements.
There could be a change in plan in the Tal Afar district to the west of Mosul. First, the Hashd announced they had ended the first part of their sixth phase of operations there. At the same time, the Ninewa Council said that the special forces would take the town of Tal Afar itself. Originally the main goal of the Hashd was seizing the town. Then Turkey complained about the negative consequences of such an action and Baghdad signed an agreement with Ankara that the ISF would be given the duty. That never happened, and then the Hashd were again assigned liberating the village. There was no explanation for the newest change. If the ISF are to attack Tal Afar it will likely happen after Mosul because there are not enough forces to do both at the same time.
Pro-Iranian Hashd continued their propaganda against the U.S. in Tal Afar. The day before the Hashd claimed they had video of American planes dropping supplies to IS in the district. Today a Hashd leader told the media that it had documents and film to prove the U.S. Coalition had not only helped IS in Tal Afar, but Baiji and other parts of Iraq along with Syria. An Iraqi security analyst was quoted in Al Maalomah that it was not the Coalition, but rather Turkey that was responsible. There are a number of conspiracy theories surrounding America and Turkey backing the Islamic State. These were just the latest examples.
Human Rights Watch expressed new concerns about the screening process used on displaced in Ninewa. It received reports that Kurdish security and the National Security Service were detaining people after they had been checked. People are routinely held incommunicado and can be held for months with no information given to their families. Obviously people need to be checked for ties to the Islamic State, but the process has always appeared arbitrariness and inconsistent raising the concerns of humanitarian and rights groups.
The number of people returning in Ninewa has slowed down according to the United Nations. Some people in camps who had been cleared to do so have decided not to. Also some families that had gone back to their homes were now once again in the camps. IS attacks, no jobs, high prices, and shortages of food, fuel, water, electricity and medicines have all been cited as reasons for this change.
The new fighting in south Mosul has also led to a new wave of displaced. Up to 3,000 people left the Mamun neighborhood. Several thousand more were seen fleeing in other areas as well. Once the security forces move farther north some of these people can be expected to start returning as they did in east Mosul.
Finally, a new tally is available for casualties caused by the Mosul campaign. This is based upon compiling daily reports from over 40 different sources, mostly Iraqi ones. Because of the Iraqi government not providing figures for its losses and inaccessibility to reporters in many areas of Ninewa these figures should be considered a minimum, as the real numbers are likely much higher.
Mosul Campaign Casualties 10/17/16-2/21/17
1 US Sailor, 1 Hashd al-Watani, 1 Iranian Revolutionary Guard, 2 Kurd Counterterrorism, 23 Police, 66 Peshmerga, 136 Hashd, 260 Soldiers, 350 ISF, 5,278 Civilians
5 Hashd al-Watani, 17 Police, 93 Hashd, 250 Peshmerga, 487 Soldiers, 2,798 ISF, 15,636 Civilians
Adel, Loaa, "Federal Police recaptures Harakiyat area south of Mosul," Iraqi News, 2/26/17
AIN, “Popular crowd ended the first phase of its operations west and east of Tal Afar after liberating 12 villages,” 2/26/17
Fox News, “Iraq: Officials recapture new neighborhood in Mosul,” 2/26/17
George, Susannah, “Casualties mount as Iraqi troops advance in IS-held Mosul,” Associated Press, 2/26/17
Human Rights Watch, “Iraq/Kurdistan Region: Men, Boys Who Fled ISIS Detained,” 2/26/17
Hussein, Sara, “Iraq forces in west Mosul aim for key bridge,” Agence France Presse, 2/26/17
Al Maalomah, “Nineveh Council: special forces will take over the task of freeing Tal Afar,” 2/26/17
- “Popular crowd reveals possession of documents and film demonstrating international coalition support for Daesh,” 2/26/17
- “Sharif reveals the identity of the planes that dropped aid to Daesh in Tal Afar,” 2/26/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “UPDATED: Iraqi forces retake 2 major districts following Mosul airport victory,” Iraqi News, 2/26/17
NINA, "Rapid Reaction Forces Storm The First Popular Area In The Southern Axis Of Mosul," 2/25/17
Rudaw, “Dozens of ISIS foreign fighters captured as Iraqi army enters western Mosul,” 2/26/17
- “Iraqi forces recapture two west Mosul neighborhoods,” 2/26/17
- "LIVE UPDATES: Abadi announces start of military campaign for west Mosul," 2/19/17
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 23 February 2017,” 2/25/17
Xinhua, “Iraqi forces free first neighborhood from IS in Mosul,” 2/26/17