There was not much news on the Mosul campaign on December 15. The Hashd were still attempting to maintain control of the highway between Tal Afar and Tal Abta. The goal is to cut off the Islamic State’s routes from Mosul to Syria. Tal Abta was freed at the start of the second week of December, and the Hashd have been trying to hold the surrounding roads since then.
The number of displaced caused by the campaign took another jump. On December 15 the International Organization for Migration reported 96,864 people had fled their homes since the start of the operation. As the Iraqi forces have moved deeper into Mosul the number of displaced has doubled. On November 20 there were 45,294. That went up to 58,716 on November 10, 58,716 on November 17, 68,964 on November 24, 77,046 on December 1, 82,698 on December 8, before passing the 90,000 mark. Soon there will be more than 100,000. This is not the one million that aid groups were worried might happen, but it is still a steady flow of people out of the mostly the surrounding towns and the eastern half of Mosul. One of the big problems is that there are not enough people to clear all of these villages of IEDs, which means these people might be displaced for a while.
The Director General of the Displacement Ministry noted that some people were already going back. He said approximately 13,000 had returned, but that included people going to Salahaddin, so it was unclear how many were from Ninewa.
Al Alam, "Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Liberate 10 Villages in tal Afar from ISIS + VIDEO," 12/15/16
International Organization for Migration, “Emergency Tracking Factsheet 7# - Mosul Operations From 17 October To 15 December,” 12/15/16
Al Maalomah, “Popular crowd frees Tal Abta fully west of Mosul,” 12/8/16
Rudaw, “13,000 Mosul IDPs have returned to their homes, Iraqi official,” 12/15/16