Heavy fighting returned to the Old City district of west Mosul. A source from the Iraqi forces (ISF) told the media that there were intense clashes going on with pockets of Islamic State in the district. Iraqi helicopters were again seen flying overhead and explosions were heard. IS also fired mortars into an eastern neighborhood. July 13 things appeared to have calmed down and the security forces were finally just mopping up. It seems that these confrontations will flare up off and on for the next few days in the Old City as the ISF hunt down the last IS elements.
Possibly a fifth video was posted on social media of the ISF executing IS suspects in the Old City. This one showed a man squatting in the street and then shot multiple times by an ISF member. Yesterday, it was reported that four videos were placed on Facebook showing ISF executing insurgents in west Mosul. The government claims it is investigating the matter, but nothing ever comes of those. In every campaign against the Islamic State there have been abuses committed afterward by members of the Iraqi forces showing a lack of discipline and a desire for vigilante justice. There are no consequences for their actions, and the videos usually get cheered by Iraqis, so these incidents will continue
For the ninth day IS still holds Imam al-Gharbi in the Qayara district southeast of Mosul. The army’s 9th Division, Rapid Reaction police units, and tribal Hashd were all trying to re-capture it. Three days ago, the ISF launched an operation, and July 14 the Hashd said they were attacking as well. Originally, it was said that only around 150 IS elements took Imam al-Gharbi. Some of those left for Hawija. The remainders have been able to stymie the ISF, cut the main road in the area, and partially surround the Qayara airbase nearby.
There were more stories that IS is fracturing in Tal Afar in west Ninewa. The Iraqi press reported that after Friday prayers a gunfight broke out between different factions in the town. According to Al Sumaria, foreign elements took over the leadership from Iraqi members and declared Tal Afar a breakaway state from the caliphate. These all come in the light of other claims that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed and that the Islamic State is breaking up as a result. None of these can be confirmed however, so they should not be taken at face value until more emerges.
Now that Mosul has been freed the Ninewa government is running into political problems. Governor Nufal Hamadi al-Akub was ejected from the ruling Nahda list over charges of corruption and other issues. That could be pave the way for his removal from office. Political turmoil in the governorate could pose problems for political, security, reconciliation, and reconstruction plans in the future.
Agence France Presse went to the Jadida neighborhood in west Mosul. There were no services and raw sewage was flowing into the streets, but people and the local government were trying to rebuild. Some shops and restaurants were open, and civil workers were fixing holes in streets. One of them said they didn’t have much money for repairs since the country is facing budgetary problems with low oil prices. Jadida suffered heavy damage during the fighting, and was the site of the Coalition air strike that killed over 100 civilians. Despite that the people of the area were still trying to put their lives back together. This is another example of the resiliency of the city’s population.
A Kuwait aid agency delivered 30 tons of food to east Mosul. Kuwait has been one of the only regional countries aiding Ninewa during the conflict.
The International Organization for Migration published the latest statistics for the displaced in Ninewa. There are 825,312 people still displaced in the province. 739,200 are from the Mosul district, 54,324 from Baaj and 17,916 from Hatra both in west Ninewa, along with 9,510 from Tal Keif in the north, and 2004 from Tal Afar. The number of IDPs since the start of July has been limited with only an increase of 5,778. The number of people returning to Mosul has gone way down with all the attacks by IS in liberated areas of the city. People are worried for their security. Until that situation is taken care of not many can be expected to make the trip back. The high number of IDPs from west Ninewa are also not just the result of the IS take over in 2014, but the Hashd have emptied the area and not allowed people to return as they create a security zone. This includes building roads, and turning Baaj into a military base. The border region may remain bereft of population for the foreseeable future as a result.
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