March 9 was a day of advances and consolidation for the Iraqi forces (ISF). Inside Mosul the Golden Division freed Muallemin and Silo in the southwest. The police were clearing the areas they had taken in the southeast along the Tigris River, and fighting just outside the Mosul Museum. General Talib Shaghati of the Golden Division hoped that all of western Mosul could be taken within a month. To the west the 9th Division and the Al-Abbas Division of the Hashd took the Badush power station, and two towns in the area as well. These represent the three main axes in the Mosul campaign, even though the last has not reached the city itself yet. The original operational plan launched in October collapsed because the Iraqi command could not coordinate its forces on multiple fronts, and had to consolidate them all down to just one. In the four months since the ISF has been able to successfully develop their strategies and implementation.
The pro-Iranian Hashd continued its campaign against the United States. Yesterday Washington said that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was not in Mosul. March 9 Asaib Ahl Al-Haq spokesman Jawad Talabawi claimed that was because the Americans had ferreted him out of the city and took him to the west. This is part of the routine propaganda by Tehran’s allies in Iraq against the U.S. presence in the country.
People continued to flow out of west Mosul. In a 24 hour period over 5,000 left the city. Overall, the number of displaced (IDPs) registered with the government and aid groups climbed from 161,730 on February 23 to 215,142 by March 9. In the last week, 23,316 signed up as IDPs. At the same time, people are still returning with some 68,532 having done so, but those leaving have now surpassed them. The figures have increased so quickly that the United Nations is worried that the IDP camps will not be able to accommodate all of them. The U.N. just opened one new facility and is building two more, but is afraid that will not be enough given the current pace of displacement.
Number of Registered Displaced in Ninewa Since Start Of Mosul Campaign
Feb 23 161,730
Mar 2 191,826
Mar 5 206,520
Mar 7 211,572
Mar 9 215,142
Several humanitarian groups published a survey of life in east Mosul. It questioned people in 19 neighborhoods. It found that food was the main priority for residents followed by electricity, both of which were in short supply. Other concerns were sewage, which was not available in one-third of the neighborhoods in the study, and drinkable water. The U.N. and aid groups were providing bottled water to just 2 of the areas in the survey. There was also no solid waste management either. Much has been recently made about schools re-opening. Almost all of those are primary level and are working two shifts to accommodate all the students. They are short of stationary and books however. On the other hand, over half of the 19 neighborhoods in the poll had no secondary schools. Those that were open were also not doing the double shifts like the other schools. Another thing often mentioned in stories about east Mosul is that markets and shops are back in business. What’s not mentioned is that many of those places lack basic supplies. More importantly there are few jobs and little money in the east to buy anything. 4/5 of the respondents said they had no cash savings. More than half the people said they were not working. Those that were employed were doing day labor. People were forced into selling their possession to try to make some cash. That meant many markets were selling on credit. Many of these issues are not going to be solved any time soon. Fallujah for example was liberated in June and is still relying upon generators and bottled water and there is no real economy. That’s because the government doesn’t have the funds for any real rebuilding due to low oil prices.
Al Arabiya, “Bodies and civilians trapped under rubble in Mosul streets,” 3/9/17
Bas News, "Iraqi Forces Recapture Two Villages West of Mosul," 3/9/17
Bulos, Nabih, “In Mosul, desperate families dodge bullets to reach safety: ‘There’s a sniper here,’” Los Angeles Times, 3/9/17
Davison, John, "Iraq aims to drive Islamic State from west Mosul within a month," Reuters, 3/9/17
- “Surviving on the front line in Mosul’s street battles,” Reuters, 3/9/17
International Organization for Migration, "Emergency Tracking Factsheet #19 – Mosul Operations From 17 October To 9 March,” 3/9/17
Al Forat, “Ninewa We Are Coming outlined its military operation for the day,” 3/9/17
Giglio, Mike, “Inside The “Mad Max-Style” Tactics ISIS Is Using In Its Last Stand In Iraq,” Buzz Feed, 3/9/17
Najjar, Farah, “UN: Up to 450,000 IDPs expected in cramped Mosul camps,” Al Jazeera, 3/9/17
Rasheed, Ahmed and Davison, John, “Iraq aims to drive Islamic State from west Mosul within a month,” Reuters, 3/9/17
Rojkan, Mira, “Over 5,000 Civilians Evacuated from Western Mosul,” Bas News, 3/9/17
Rudaw, "Iraqi troops retake two Mosul sectors as they press towards city center," 3/9/17
Al Sumaria, “Popular Crowd Leader: American troops have helped al-Baghdadi escape from East Mosul,” 3/9/17
Wedeman, Ben and Munayyer, Waffa, “Dramatic footage from western Mosul shows families caught in crossfire,” CNN, 3/9/17
Welthungerhlife, Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, People in Need, “Iraq: Rapid Humanitarian Needs and Market Assessment Eastern Neighborhoods of East Mosul, February 2017,” 2/28/17
Westcott, Tom, “Barefoot flight from Mosul: The long road to safety,” IRIN, 3/9/17
Xinhua, “Iraqi forces continue fighting IS in western Mosul,” 3/9/17