Friday, January 20, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 95, Jan 19, 2017


The Golden Division and army were moving inside east Mosul and without. The neighborhood of Arabi was freed for the second time by the Rapid Reaction forces and the Hashd al-Watani. The 15th Division in the north took Fadiliya and Jabir Bin Hayan. The Ninewa International Hotel was declared liberated on January 18, but there were still Islamic State fighters there until January 19 when it was said to be cleared again. The Golden Division took the Presidential Palace as well. In the southeast the Federal Police were still going through areas looking for explosives and booby-traps. Outside Mosul the 9th Division and the Hashd al-Watani freed the town of Tal Keif, which had been surrounded since the Mosul operation began in October.

When all of east Mosul is freed there will likely be a pause to refit and then a push on the western side. A meeting of all the commanders is supposed to be coming that will plan on this next phase of the operation. Pontoon bridges provided by the Americans have already arrived south of Mosul to cross the Tigris. The Iraqi Forces (ISF) may also shift some forces to the south to attack from that direction, which would also mean they would not have to expose themselves to attack during a river crossing.

Everyday there are more stories of IS’s imminent demise. Golden Division General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi told the press that most of the group’s commanders had been killed in east Mosul. Al Sumaria reported that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave priority to his foreign fighters to be evacuated from east Mosul across the Tigris, which caused consternation amongst the other members. Shafaaq News was informed that the insurgents were suffering fuel and ammunition shortages in west Mosul.

Reuters wrote a piece on the U.S. advisers helping in Mosul. The Americans are involved in daily debriefings with the ISF to go over what worked and what didn’t. Besides air strikes they have also provided real time intelligence.

The number of people displaced from the campaign is continually fluctuating, but they are heading upwards overall. On December 15 there were 96,864 registered with the government and aid groups. That passed 100,000 the next week with 108,624 on December 22. By January 5 there were 132,234 displaced, 144,612 on January 12, and 158,928 on January 19. There were over 160,000 for two days during the third week of January, but then around 4,000 people returned. Those figures did not include several thousand people going back and forth within Mosul, which never signed up with any group or the authorities.

Niqash talked with three people who got out of Mosul. Ahmad al-Haj was a former textile worker from Zuhur. His family was now in Khazar Displaced Camp east of Mosul. The Golden Division came to his house and was attacked by a suicide bomber. That fighting led him to flee. Isbal Hussein said Mosul was like a prison under the Islamic State with the militants killing people for any little reason. She escaped by boat across the Tigris having to get through several IS checkpoints. Finally, Amin Miqdad was a young musician who had his instruments confiscated by IS. The militants said they were going to beat him him when they came to his house, but didn’t follow through with their threat. He moved afterward and was able to get some new instruments to continue his music. What the stories showed was how people persevered while living under the Islamic State. Some defied the rules like Amin, while others were able to escape like Isbal.

Iraqi News visited Qayara. In August 2016 IS set some of the oil fields there on fire, and many of the wells are still ablaze. They are putting up huge toxic clouds. Health officials said people were suffering from respiratory problems. A farmer blamed the fires for killing his animals. The Oil Ministry is attempting to put the wells out, but around half of them have yet to be extinguished.

There have been over 20,000 casualties since the start of the Mosul battle in October. Based on tracking reports in more than 40 papers per day including aid agencies there have 4,923 fatalities and 15,903 wounded. Civilians have been the biggest victims with 4,470 dead and 14,762 injured. Another 277 members of the ISF, 102 Hashd, 70 Peshmerga, 2 Kurdish Counterterrorism members, 1 Hashd al-Watani and 1 U.S. sailors have been reported killed, and 824 ISF, 253 Peshmerga, 59 Hashd, and 5 Hashd al-Watani wounded. The Islamic State has been accused of executing 2,749 civilians. Another 497 dead and 643 injured were blamed on Coalition Air Strikes.

Battle for Mosul Casualties Oct 17, 2016-Jan 14, 2017

4,923 Killed
1 U.S. Sailor, 1 Hashd al-Watani, 2 Kurd CT, 70 Peshmerga, 102 Hashd, 277 ISF, 4,470 Civilians

15,903 Civilians
5 Hashd al-Watani, 59 Hashd, 253 Peshmerga, 824 ISF, 14,762 Civilians

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Army's 16 brigade destroyed 17 car bombs north of Mosul," Iraqi News, 1/16/17

Al Forat, “Ninewa We Are Coming announces freeing 37 people and killed more than 20 terrorists in Mosul,” 1/19/17

International Organization for Migration, “Iraq: Displacement Tracking Matrix, Emergency Tracking – Fact Sheet #12 – Mosul Operations from 17 October to 19 January,” 1/19/17

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Jan. 19, 2017," 1/19/17

Kalin, Stephen, “Iraq counts on U.S. advisers, mostly out of sight, in war on Islamic State,” Reuters, 1/19/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraqi army seizes presidential palaces in northern Mosul’s Tel Kaif,” Iraqi News, 1/19/17
- “Iraqi sheep, locals, environment suffer Islamic State oil fires,” Iraqi News, 1/19/17
- “Most Islamic State commanders in Mosul already killed, Iraqi general says,” Iraqi News, 1/19/17
- "UPDATED: Army recaptures govt buildings, hotel in northern Mosul's Tel Kaif," Iraqi News, 1/19/17

Niqash, “Three Stories From Inside: Iraqis Who Escaped Mosul Tell Their Personal Tales,” 1/19/17

Rudaw, “UPDATED: Iraqi forces take full control over Tel Kaif, north of Mosul,” 1/19/17

Shafaaq News, “Sources: Daesh suffers from acute shortages of fuel and ammunition in west Mosul,” 1/19/17

Al Sumaria, "Nineveh We Are Coming, declares presidential palaces in Mosul freed," 1/19/17
- “Source: Al-Baghdadi cleared his foreign fighters first and some arrived barefoot,” 1/19/17

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces recapture IS-held town near Mosul," 1/19/17


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