News came out about developments in east Mosul on December 15. The Sukar area was declared freed for the second time. On December 16 four neighborhoods were liberated, two of which Falah 1 and 2 have been gone through several times before. The Islamic State also attacked five areas with car bombs, all of which were reportedly destroyed. In the southeast the 9th Division was still clearing the same five neighborhoods it has been doing for weeks now.
On the northern, southern, and western fronts the 9th and 16th Divisions, Federal Police and Hashd were still caught up in several villages clearing IEDs, and fighting off occasional IS attacks. Two car bombs and a bulldozer bomb were destroyed to the south and two vehicle bombs in the north. The Hashd were busy securing the areas around Tal Abta. The southern forces are finally organizing to attack Mosul, but there are no apparent moves in the north or in the west towards Tal Afar.
Mark Perry for Politico interviewed several U.S. officers at Central Command who were worried about the toll the fighting was taking on the Golden Division, which is leading the fight in east Mosul. One officer said that the unit was facing a 50% casualty rate, and was afraid that it might be rendered combat ineffective at that rate. Another source told Perry that the Iraqi forces (ISF) were turning to more artillery, tanks and air strikes to take care of IS fighters despite the higher civilian toll. Fears of the Golden Division being worn down have been expressed before. The Mosul campaign is the toughest fighting so far though. One Golden Division unit has been taken off the line and replaced with another likely because of its losses and exhaustion. With only around 40% of east Mosul occupied so far there is still a long fight ahead.
The United Nations and International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided more information on the displacement crisis. The U.N. said 96,864 people had been displaced in Ninewa since October 17. Around 57,000 are in U.N. sponsored camps. There are six in operation with three more being built. All together they will have a capacity of 102,000. The organization asked for $196.2 million in donations for the Mosul campaign, but has only received 57% of that. Since 2014 the U.N. has never gotten the amounts it has requested for its humanitarian work in Iraq. The IOM reported that around 106,400 people had been displaced in total, with more than 9,500 having gone home. In recent weeks there has been large jumps in people fleeing with roughly 5,800 leaving their homes in just three days spanning from December 13 to 16. Right now it’s impossible for many to return to their homes east and south of the city since they have not been cleared of IEDs meaning that this crisis will continue for several more months. That combined with the on going fighting will mean the number of displaced will continue to rise, and the return rate will remain low.
Adel, Loaa, "Counter-Terrorism forces free 2 neighborhoods in Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/13/16
AIN, "Urgent counterterrorism liberate Kafat neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul," 12/3/16
Buratha News, “Recent developments in the field during the liberation process until 18:35 pm Friday 16 12 2016,” 12/16/16
International Organization for Migration, “Two Months into Mosul Operations, Over 96,800 Iraqis Displaced,” 12/16/16
Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul, Nov. 27, 2016," 11/27/16
NINA, "Security Forces Liberate Sukkar Area North Of Mosul," 12/15/16
Perry, Mark, “How Iraq’s Army Could Defeat ISIS in Mosul-But Lose Control of the Country,” Politico, 12/15/16
Shafaq News, "Statement: Killing of 174 Daesh repelling attacks," 12/16/16
- "Urgent..Iraqi forces stormed two districts east Mosul amid light clashes," 12/15/16
Sotaliraq, "100 Daash killed in frustrated attack inside left coast of Mosul," 12/16/16
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Into Mosul’s Third Month, UNHCR Bolsters Response to Help Newly Displaced,” 12/16/16