Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 48, Dec 3, 2016


The Golden Division freed another neighborhood in east Mosul. The 16th Division liberated four towns in the north as well. The latter was significant because it was the first time movement was reported on the northern front since November 21. Almost a month ago the forces in the north were supposed to reach Mosul, but have been sitting in place for weeks. Part of that was due to having to secure the territory that was taken. Another reason was the tough defense the Islamic State put up, plus there were reports that some units had been exhausted. Hopefully this is a sign that the 16th Division will be moving once again. A member of the Ninewa council added some more information as to why the southern front is similarly stalled. He stated that there were not enough forces to hold the areas in the south making army units stay in place. Local fighters were supposed to be organized in Ninewa for this task, but it didn't happen. An officer from the 9th Division complained about the police forces sent to the south of Mosul being subpar, and army units being called up to support them.

Overall, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said that 20% of Mosul had bee liberated so far. The city was entered at the very end of October showing that it has been very slow going so far.

Changes are coming. A member of the Ninewa Council told Al Mada that the United States wanted a pause in operations to allow civilians to get out of the combat zones, but that was rejected. Iraqi commanders made a similar request of Prime Minister Abadi and got the same response. The Defense Ministry did announce that the campaign plan was going to be revised, but provided no details as to how.

The Islamic State began several counterattacks on December 2 lasting into the next day. On the 2nd three towns in the Tal Afar district were attacked by mortars, suicide car bombs and small arms, which led to the death of 13 Hashd. The fighting there lasted into the 3rd and was expanded by operations against four more towns plus four areas of Mosul. Another 24 civilians were killed and 18 wounded by a truck bomb in the city, and 3 more wounded in fighting. 2 soldiers were killed and 29 wounded in a double car bombing in Kanos south of Mosul. There has been poor weather in the district, which has limited air strikes, which allowed IS to carry out these attacks. An officer said the Iraqi forces were pushed out of some areas in Mosul by the day’s fighting, but this is part of the back and forth going on in the city.

Reuters reporters were in Gogjali in eastern Mosul and saw Shiite flags and religious slogans being spray painted on the walls of the city. Flags of Imam Hussein were put up on a Sunni mosque and next to shops and a call to Hussein was spray painted on several buildings. A Sunni man from the neighborhood said that the army should be more neutral, while the soldiers said there was nothing wrong about the flags and graffiti. The Iraqi government is hoping that the Mosul operation can win over the population, which has had a difficult relationship with the central government. The Iraqi forces portraying themselves as a Shiite force rather than an Iraqi one will not help in that effort.

There was another story on the hardships developing within Mosul. There are more claims of food and fuel shortages in the city, and rising prices. A water pipe has cut of water to over half a million people in the eastern side of the city, and because of the fighting there is no way to repair it. That added to the poor weather could lead to a miserable winter for the population.

On December 1, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released its monthly casualty report, which was criticized by the Iraqi forces. The U.N. said that 1,966 members of the Iraqi forces, Peshmerga, Sahwa and Hashd had been killed in November, along with 468 being wounded. Most of those probably happened in the Mosul area. The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that those figures were exaggerated without giving any correction of its own. In response, UNAMI said that it would halt its reporting until it found a way to confirm its numbers. This is a huge loss for war reporting as the Iraqi government is censoring its casualties. The United Nations is the only group trying to capture comprehensive civilian and military casualties in the country, and reporting on it. Iraq Body Count for example only covers deaths, and does not include members of the Peshmerga, army or Golden Division because they are not civilian forces like the police. This will create a huge gap in keeping up with the cost of the war.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Anti-Terrorism forces kill 13 ISIS members near Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/3/16,
- “Residents alarmed as Iraqi soldiers spray Shi’ite graffiti in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/3/16

AIN, "Urgent counterterrorism liberate Kafat neighborhood in the left coast of Mosul," 12/3/16
- “Urgent Defense: Change in the military plans to liberate Mosul,” 12/3/16

Anadolu Agency, "Suicide attack kills 13 Shia militiamen in N. Iraq," 12/4/16

Associated Press, "Under dusty fog cover, IS strikes Iraqi forces near Mosul," 12/3/16

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul, Dec 3, 2016,” 12/3/16

Al Mada, “Nineveh government rejects US proposal to freeze operations and request intervention of Apaches,” 12/3/16

New Sabah, "Thwarted big Daesh attack between Tal Afar and Sinjar," 12/3/16

Rasheed, Ahmed, "Mosul residents fear cold and hunger of winter siege," Reuters, 12/3/16

Rojkan, Mira, “20% of Mosul Free from IS,” Bas News, 12/3/16

Rudaw, "Iraqi army makes gains southeast of Mosul," 11/23/16

Shafaq News, "Three civilians were injured by Daesh shooting northeast Mosul," 12/3/16

United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, “UN Casualty Figures for Iraq for the Month of November 2016,” 12/1/16
- “UNAMI Statement in Response to Criticism on Reporting Military Casualties,” 12/3/16

World Bulletin, "Suicide bombing kills 12 in Iraq's Mosul," 12/3/16

Xinhua, "Security forces recapture 4 villages near Mosul, repel 2 IS attacks in northern Iraq," 12/4/16


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