Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 52, Dec 7, 2016


The Iraqi forces (ISF) faced a mixture of continued advances and setbacks in its fighting in eastern Mosul. On the positive side, the Golden Division supported by a unit from the 16th Division freed Noor, Muthanna and Siha. That marked the 55th neighborhood reached so far in the city. The 9th Division and a SWAT unit and the Golden Division also attacked Masarif and Salam, both of which were freed twice before. On the negative side, the 9th Division made a thrust into southeast Mosul reaching the Salam Hospital in the Wahda neighborhood on December 6. It appeared that the ISF was trying to make a pincer movement and surround the central section of the Left Coast of the city. On December 7 the Islamic State launched a determined counterattack and drove the ISF out of the hospital. An armored unit and troops from the Golden Division had to be sent in to rescue the soldiers stuck in the hospital and secure their escape. An officer told Reuters that it appeared the insurgents let them into the neighborhood so that they could be ambushed. In the process the 9th Division had to withdraw from the Wahda and Sumer areas. There is still no movement on the northern and southern fronts. The previous two days the southern neighborhoods were shelled, but there was no such news on December 7. Instead, Al Mada reported that the army is still waiting for the order to move out and attack the Mosul airport.

In the west the Hashd attacked the town of Tal Faris. It has also had a hard time controlling the Tal Afar to Mosul road. The Hashd units are still waiting for the army and police to organize a force to take Tal Afar itself. Until then the Hashd are trying to hold the roads and clearing the towns in the area.

Iraq Oil Report in its daily journal, “Inside Mosul” noted that IS is forcing civilians from the Bakr, Mithaq and Tamim neighborhoods into the western side of the city. The militants were threatening to kill people if they didn’t leave. They are likely to be used as human shields.

Finally, Reuters ran a story that Iran, Russia and France played a role in the Mosul campaign plan. Originally, the northern, eastern, and southern sides of Mosul were to be taken leaving an escape route to the west to Syria for civilians and IS fighters to flee. A similar tactic was used in previous sieges in Iraq. Tehran, Moscow and Paris objected. The first two did not want Islamic State men moving into Syria where they could be used to fight the Assad government, which the two countries support. France on the other hand, wanted to eliminate as many IS members as possible in Mosul fearing future terrorist attacks. As a result of this lobbying the Hashd were sent west to cut off Mosul from all sides. A negative consequence of this revision is that there are hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped within the city, which has greatly complicated the fighting as they have been used as human shields, and have stopped the ISF from using its heavy firepower. It has also left IS with no other choice but to fight to the death as few can expect to escape if they tried.

SOURCES

Bas News, "Iraqi Forces Approaching Center of Mosul," 12/7/16
- "Iraqi Forces Retake Two More Neighborhoods Eastern Mosul," 12/6/16

Evans, Dominic, Chmaytelli, Maher and Markey, Patrick, “How Iran closed the Mosul ‘horseshoe’ and changed Iraq war,” Reuters, 12/7/16

Al Forat, "Popular Mobilization Forces initiate attack on the southern village of Tal Faris western Mosul," 12/7/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul, Dec. 7, 2016," 12/7/16
- "Inside Mosul: Nov. 6, 2016," 11/6/16
- "Inside Mosul, Nov. 25, 2016," 11/25/16

Al Mada, “Revision to the plan to liberate Mosul and Tal Afar from Daesh,” 12/7/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraqi troops withdraw as ISIS attacks leave deaths in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/7/16

Rasheed, Ahmed, “Islamic State attacks Iraqi soldiers in Mosul,” Reuters, 12/7/16

Rojkan, Mira, "Joint Forces Continue to Advance, Liberating More Areas in Mosul," Bas News, 12/4/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces gain ground, fight heavy clashes with IS militants in Mosul," 11/29/16



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