Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day Twenty-Six, Nov 11, 2016


A new neighborhood was freed in eastern Mosul, while five more were attacked. The latest area of the city cleared was Qadisiyah. The Golden Division attacked Arbajiyeh and Karkukli neighborhoods, but the latter was declared liberated two times before this month. The 9th Division operating alongside the Golden Division also entered three new areas.

The army and Federal Police were also making advances on other fronts. The 16th Division and the Federal police freed one town each to the north and south of Mosul, although the 16th Division was said to have already freed Tal Yara. It’s important for these units to reach Mosul itself because it would help take the pressure off the Golden and 9th Divisions, which are facing intense attacks inside the city. The Golden Division initially attacked the city before other units had caught up, and went into the most heavily fortified section leading to the deadliest fighting of the campaign so far.

There have been some excellent articles on the combat in eastern Mosul. Amnesty International also interviewed residents about the toll the battle is taking on them. One woman told Amnesty, “When we came here, we walked past our village. I would walk and cry, looking around at all the destroyed houses. Everything had fallen.” Others talked about how the Islamic State was using homes to carry out quick attacks on the Iraqi forces and then moving on, which would bring fire onto civilians. General Sami al-Aridhi told the Washington Post how difficult the operation has been inside Mosul. “If there were no civilians, we’d just burn it all. … I couldn’t bomb with artillery or tanks, or heavy weapons. I said, ‘We can’t do anything.’” One Iraqi officer told Reuters, “We’re an armored brigade, and fighting without being able to use tanks and with soldiers unused to urban warfare is putting troops in a tough situation. … In Mosul, we have to advance inside residential areas, comb streets, clear houses from terrorists and deal with civilians. I’m afraid this job is too tough for us to handle. … It’s becoming a nightmare and it’s nerve-wracking for the soldiers.”

In Bashiqa, which was just liberated by the Peshmerga east of Mosul, some Yazidi residents were able to return to their homes. Clashes with IS fighters continued in the town for several days after it was freed as they were hiding in tunnels under the town. Canadian Special Forces were also said to have been with the Kurds in the town.

Finally, the United Nations had more news on IS executions going on in Mosul. The U.N. received stories that up to 60 people had been killed at the start of November. Some were hung on electricity poles to intimidate the population. Thousands of families have fled the city, and the sounds of the fighting can be heard throughout the eastern half of Mosul. The militants have been trying to keep the people under control and in their homes. The latter is important because the group has been using civilians as human shields. More killings can be expected as the Iraqi forces put more pressure on the militants.

SOURCES

BBC, “Mosul battle: IS hangs bodies of 40 civilians from poles in Iraqi city, UN says,” 11/11/16

Evans, Dominic and Rasheed, Ahmed, “’Crashing waves’ of jihadists fray soldiers’ nerve in Mosul battle,” Reuters, 11/11/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Nov. 10, 2016," 11/10/16

John, Gavin, “Canadians making a difference against ISIS in Iraq,” Toronto Sun, 11/11/16

Al Mada, "Breaking into eight districts and increases pressure on Daesh on the left coast," 11/11/16

Morris, Loveday, “Iraq has never seen this kind of fighting in its battles with ISIS,” Washington Post, 11/11/16

New Sabah, "A break in the fight against terrorism as Qadisiyah neighborhood in Mosul is completely freed," 11/11/16

Rudaw, "Iraqi forces launch new offensive, pushing deeper into Mosul," 11/11/16
- “Yezidis mark their return to Bashiqa with ritual ceremonies,” 11/11/16

Salihy, Razaw, “The battle for Mosul: Tales of horror emerge as thousands flee clashes to oust IS,” Amnesty International, 11/11/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces clear areas freed from IS in eastern Mosul," 11/9/16
- "Iraqi forces free more districts in eastern Mosul," 11/4/16


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