Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 191, Apr 25, 2017



The Golden Division freed the Tanak neighborhood located on the far left. The police are still fighting over the Old City on the far right along the Tigris River. Green = liberated, White = IS control, Blue = Tigris River. (Ninewa Media Center)

There was a large advance in the western section of west Mosul, and very limited movement in the east. The Golden Division freed Tanak, which it fought over for almost a month. It is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city and is along the western edge. In the east the police inched ahead. It was still attacking the Old City along four axes and was said to have seized some streets in Bab al-Tob and Bab al-Jadid. The police recently restarted their operations in the district after a month long pause, but have only advanced a few meters.

To the west of the city the Hashd and the army’s 15th Division launched a new operation towards the Syrian border. They seized 12 villages on the first day. The Islamic State is only lightly defending this area, so the Iraqis should be able to seize a large amount of territory in a short period of time.

Inside Mosul, the insurgents were attempting to maintain their control over the population. IS fighters dressed as police went into Old City and killed an unknown number of civilians that greeted them. It was unclear whether this was a trick to root out people it considered traitors or whether the militants wanted to blame this on the government forces. The group was also said to be rounding up civilians in two areas for unknown reasons. They could be planning on using them as human shields, which they have done since the Mosul campaign started in October 2016.

IRIN did an investigative report finding that the Iraqi forces were executing captured Islamic State fighters. It recorded various incidents where IS suspects were captured, interrogated and then shot. Sometimes the bodies were strung up as warnings against others. Sometimes they were just dumped on the street or in ditches. It is a violation of the rules of war to execute prisoners, but no one has any sympathy for the Islamic State, so nothing will be done.

USA Today talked with U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian who told it that the insurgents’ use of drones had dramatically fallen off. In February there were an average of 10-15 drones per day in Mosul. Now that was down to just 1-2. The Americans have provided jamming devices to the Iraqi forces, but otherwise they are usually just shot at. No reason was given for the dramatic decline, so it could be due to the counter measures or it could be simply that IS ran out of its supply.

New Sabah and the Baghdad Post talked about the difficult task of rebuilding Mosul. New Sabah talked with a community activist that outlined the problems east Mosul is facing. First, there is fear of IS sleeper cells. There is no information on how many are still around, and residents are trying to provide intelligence to the security forces to round them up. Second, the government is the biggest employer in the city, yet its workers are not being paid. They have to go through an extensive vetting process that takes too long. There were several reports for example about dozens of schools re-opening in the city, but none of the teachers or administrators have received salaries. Without any money coming in there is no way to revive the economy. There are stories of people selling their belongings to try to raise money to buy things. Most of the time people are buying on credit. Third there are robberies and looting going on in residential areas. Several gangs have been arrested, but the security forces and government officials have also been implicated. People are stripping copper wire as well to sell. Fourth, basic services like water and electricity have to be restored. As of now people rely on generators for power and aid groups and the government are trucking in bottled water. Fifth, some areas of the east have extensive war damage that needs to be rebuilt. This will be an even bigger problem in the west that has seen far more destruction. Sixth, the insurgents are constantly shelling the sections of the city along the Tigris River. Finally, the Baghdad Post talked with non-government organizations that complained about corruption and malpractice undermining aid and the rebuilding effort. NGOs have said that government medical teams meant to help the displaced are not providing any assistance. The Human Rights Observatory accused the Migration Ministry, members of the Ninewa council, and local officials in Hamam al-Alil, the main screening center for the displaced of corruption. That likely means they are stealing money and supplies, and exploiting contracts meant to help the people coming out of Mosul. Putting the city and Ninewa in general back together will be an enormous task for the government. Most of what’s being done now is by local government workers and the general public. Besides large projects like running displacement camps, the provincial and central authorities are not doing much. Part of that is because Mosul is still a war zone. A bigger issue however is that the Iraqi government doesn't have any money for reconstruction with low oil prices and the cost of the war, and also suffers from a lack of capacity and massive corruption. That makes any large project like this all the more difficult to accomplish.

SOURCES

Aboulenein, Ahmed, “Iraqi forces using siege and stealth to evict Islamic State from Mosul,” Reuters, 4/25/17

Adel, Loaa, "Katai'b Sayyid al-Shuhada cuts off IS supply line between al-Baa'j and al-Hadher," Iraqi News, 4/25/17

Associated Press, "Iraqi troops capture largest neighborhood in western Mosul," 4/25/17

Baghdad Post, “Displaced civilians caught between irresponsible NGOs , gov’t,” 4/25/17
- “IMIS starts offensive to take parts in southern Mosul from ISIS,” 4/25/17
- “ISIS abducts civilians in several locations in right bank of Mosul,” 4/25/17
- "Security forces liberate 5 villages in Mosul," 4/25/17,

Casares, Andres Martinez and Laessing, Ulf, “A walk through western Mosul,” Reuters, 4/25/17

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: April 25, 2017,” 4/25/17

IRIN, “Captive IS fighters face extrajudicial killings on fringes of Mosul conflict,” 4/25/17

Michaels, Jim, “Iraqi forces now attacking ISIS militants with drones in Mosul,” USA Today, 4/25/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Military media: IS militants, dressed as police, killed cheering civilians in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 4/25/17

New Sabah, “Four files hinder the return of normal life to East Mosul,” 4/25/17

Robinson, A.C., “Delivering aid to liberated part of Mosul that still feels under besiege,” Rudaw, 4/25/17

Shafaaq News, “Warning of violent clashes taking place in the vicinity of the Old City of Mosul,” 4/25/17

Al Sumaria, "Al-Harbi Media announces the liberation of 12 villages in the Hadar district south of Mosul," 4/25/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi troops recapture new neighborhood from IS in western Mosul,” 4/25/17


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Mosul Campaign Day 222 May 26 2017

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