Almost all the combat news on December 22 from the Mosul campaign originated with the Islamic State. Three suicide car bombs hit a market in Gogjali, an east Mosul suburb, which left 30 dead and 60 wounded. Mortar fire also killed 11 in east Mosul, including four aid workers. The Golden Division was involved in heavy clashes in the Tamim neighborhood, which has been cleared twice before. The Federal Police continued its shelling of the Ghazlani camp in south Mosul. Finally, the insurgents attempted to break the encirclement of Tal Afar to the west, but the Hashd turned it back. The Mosul operation is currently in a pause. The eastern forces are being reinforced and re-supplied before they re-start their push into the city. The northern and southern fronts have been stalled for a month a half because they didn’t have police or local Hashd units to hold most of the ground they took. Some of the units that did show up were not up to the task requiring the army to stay in place and clear and hold the areas they had taken. Some units also reportedly did not want to enter Mosul afraid of the heavy casualties they might take. In the west, the Hashd were taking towns around Tal Afar but the army and police haven’t organized any forces to take the town itself. That left almost all the heavy fighting in the east and the Golden Division supported by some army brigades. Now that front is at a standstill as well with fighting over areas already entered. More army and police units are now being shifted to their sector to back them up, and a southern thrust at Mosul is supposed to be in the making as well.
The slow down in operations is leading some Hashd to call for their participation in the urban fighting. A Hashd spokesman and the secretary general of the Hezbollah al-Nujaba were both quoted as saying that the Hashd should enter Mosul. The Iraqi government wanted the Iraqi forces to free the city because it was not only better suited for urban warfare, but it could also help win over the population to Baghdad. As a result an agreement was made to keep the Hashd out. With the fighting dragging on and heavy casualties there will be increasingly pressure from some Hashd to join in despite the deal.
Inside Mosul the Islamists were said to be destroying and looting parts of the Mosul University as well as continuing with the practice of forcing people out of their homes to turn their areas into combat zones. The school used to be one of Iraq’s best higher learning institutions, but now IS is blowing parts of it up as it has done in other sections of the city. Meanwhile in Rabia neighborhood the militants were forcing people to leave for the western side of the city. Their homes will likely be converted into battle positions.
More stories came out on the cost of the Mosul operation. The West Irbil Emergency Hospital told the Associated Press that on days of heavy fighting they could see up to 100 patients. Rudaw quoted the head of the Irbil Health Department that 7,595 people had been treated in the city’s hospitals since the start of the Mosul campaign in the middle of October. That was 3,000 more than had previously been mentioned in the media. Overall that means that roughly 12,000 people have been killed and wounded in Ninewa so far.
Finally, the number of displaced is about to pass the 110,000 mark by next week. The International Organization for Migration’s latest fact sheet showed that the number of people registered with the government or aid groups climbed from 99,394 on December 16 to 108,625 by December 22. During that time span around 1,000 people were fleeing their homes and seeking out help per day. That does not include the hundreds of people sheltering within Mosul itself. When military operations ramp back up that figure will only increase.
Adel, Loaa, "Islamic State claims suicide car bombs that killed at least 23 east of Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/22/16
Al Alaem, “Daesh organization destroyed the University of Mosul and plunders its contents,” 12/22/16
Hendawi, Hamza, “After years fleeing IS, tragedy hits Iraqi family in Mosul,” Associated Press, 12/22/16
International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix, Emergency Tracking – Fact Sheet #8 – Mosul Operations from 17 October to 22 December,” 12/22/16
Iraq News Network, “Asadi: coordination between Suleimani and Abadi over the popular crowd’s involvement in the liberation of Mosul city center,” 12/22/16
Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul, Dec. 10, 2106,” 12/10/16
- “Inside Mosul, Dec. 22, 2016,” 12/22/16
Iskakova, Botagoz, “Iraqi Troops Fighting in Mosul to Be Re-armed,” Bas News, 12/22/16
Al Maalomah, “Nujaba calls to allow the popular crowd to enter Mosul and for the expulsion of the Americans to end the battle quickly,” 12/22/16
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Update: Iraqi troops liberate 28 districts in eastern Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/9/16
Rudaw, “UPDATED: Tens of civilians killed in triple ISIS car bomb east of Mosul,” 12/22/16
Shafaaq News, “The arrival of military reinforcements to the north of Mosul, a prelude to the resumption of operations,” 12/22/16
Sotaliraq, "Death toll in suicide attacks in Kokjla rise to 23 dead," 12/22/16
- "Popular crowd destroyed a Daash convoy trying to open the security cordon around Tal Afar," 12/22/16
Xinhua, "At least 25 killed in 3 suicide attacks in Iraq's Mosul," 12/22/16