The Iraqi Forces (ISF) and Hashd were both preparing for the next phase of the Mosul campaign. The Joint Operations Command announced that Federal Police units were moving into central Mosul to prepare to cross the Tigris and attack the west. The Diyala battalion of the Golden Division arrived in the city, and the 9th Division was setting up its heavy weapons. The Hashd continued to talk about how important the 6th phase of their operations will be, which includes participating in the new assault on Mosul. The Al Abbas Division of the Hashd is supposed to take part, but it’s not clear in what capacity. The ISF are still resting and re-supplying after three months of fighting. In a few more days they will likely go back into action. The Hashd in Tal Afar district have been holding ground since November. As more time has passed, and they have less to do they have been issuing more boisterous propaganda releases. Baghdad changed its policy and decided that they will be allowed to take the town, despite a deal with Turkey, because it doesn’t have any army of police units to spare because of Mosul. That means they will be back in action soon.
There were more articles about the arrest warrant issued for former Ninewa Governor Atheel Nujafi. Al Mada noted that the head of the Ninewa We Are Coming command General Abdul Yarallah said that Nujafi’s Hashd al-Watani or Ninewa Guards would help secure and clear east Mosul, and then 24 hours later said that they would be excluded because of the warrant. That was more evidence that the ISF were not behind this, but rather politicians were. Nujafi has many opponents, and his actions after east Mosul were freed were not helping. He was walking through the city like he freed it and claimed that his Hashd were going to be given 30 neighborhoods to control. That’s since been retracted, and the Hashd al-Watani has been told to leave the city. Nujafi was hoping that the Mosul operation would help him return to power, but that plan has been cut short due to this new controversy.
The ISF has captured thousands of Islamic State documents. Some of those have been released to the press, specifically ones showing that foreign members were trying to leave Mosul by claiming a variety of sicknesses. It was not clear whether these were fighters or just part of the group’s bureaucracy. The foreign fighters were said to be the last ones standing in east Mosul, while many of the Iraqi members fled to the west. The papers do show problems within the group, but they are also part of the propaganda the Iraqi government is pushing that IS is a broken force.
The Islamic State on the other hand is still showing persistence. For the third or fourth time IS fighters launched a river attack across the Tigris upon an east Mosul neighborhood on January 28. January 29 they attacked the Fasiliya neighborhood, and another small force was found trying to infiltrate the east as well. These were all turned back. It has continued mortar, rocket, and drone attacks on liberated areas of the city as well. It assaulted three towns to the south and west of Mosul as well. One of those was on Hamam al-Alil deep in liberated territory showing IS cells are still active there.
More evidence of the group’s atrocities was also discovered. A grave with 27 bodies of Turkmen was discovered in Mosul’s Rashidiya area in the northeast. Every time an area is liberated from the insurgents evidence of massacres are usually revealed.
Aid agencies had both good and bad news about the thousands of displaced in Ninewa. As of January 26 the International Organization for Migration counted 159,006 people registered with the government and NGOs. The Iraqi Red Crescent reported that 10,125 people had left the Khazir and Hasan al-Sham camps to return to Mosul. At the same time, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that authorities were blocking aid groups access to the camps they run. Also the problem of detaining male members of families for suspecting ties to IS is continuing, and that some of them have been tortured as a result. Another issue is that 46% of the displaced from Mosul are missing their documents like birth and marriage certificates and IDs. The last is very important because people cannot get assistance from the government like food rations and cash payouts for being displaced without their identification.
Adel, Loaa, "Army forces find mass grave containing remains of 27 Turkmens near Mosul," 1/29/17
International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix Emergency Tracking Mosul Operations Data Snapshot: 26 January 2017,” 1/29/17
Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Jan. 28, 2017," 1/29/17
- "Inside Mosul: Jan. 29, 2017," 1/29/17
Iraqi Red Crescent Society, “More than 10 thousand people return to their homes within last weak inside Mosul,” 1/29/17
Al Maalomah, "Federal Police destroyed three car bombs at the entrance to the right bank of Mosul," 1/29/17
Al Mada, “Nineveh Guard: We received orders from al-Abadi to participate in the liberation battles,” 1/29/17
Al Masalah, “Popular crowd: the sixth stage of the Mosul operation will end the existence of Daesh,” 1/29/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Documents: IS militants demand repatriation citing funny illnesses,” Iraqi News, 1/29/17
- "Iraqi police head to western Mosul, child, 3 militants killed by drones," Iraqi News, 1/29/17
- "Police kill 9 IS militants south of Mosul, IS kill 4 PMU fighters in west," Iraqi News, 1/29/17
New Sabah, “Activating arrest warrant in the event of Nujafi’s presence in Mosul,” 1/29/17
- “Federal Police advancing towards the left bank of Mosul in preparation for storming it,” 1/29/17
Shafaaq News, "Killing a man and injuring his wife and three children in Daesh pounding of East Mosul," 1/29/17
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Mosul Weekly Protection Update, 21-27 January 2017,” 1/27/17