Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 234 Jun 7, 2017

The heaviest fighting was still in Zinjali in west Mosul. The Iraqi forces gave different figures throughout the day on how much of the neighborhood they held. That ranged from a source that had it at 80%, the Federal Police commander General Raed Shakir Jawadat who had 85%, the Joint Operations Command who claimed 90%, and a Federal Police major who put it at 95%. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have had problems with their numbers for this area for the last several days. Whatever the percentage was it appeared the ISF were on the verge of liberating it. The Iraqis were still pushing into Shifa as well as Bab al-Sinjar one of the entrances to the Old City district. Since the last push on Mosul began one neighborhood has been freed, and the remaining three are all under attack. Progress has been slow with the Islamic State putting up a tough defense.

There were heavy casualties reported during the day. 54 civilians were killed and 22 wounded by Islamic State gunfire, snipers and mortars. Another 36 members of the ISF died and 7 more were injured. All of this occurred in Zinjali.

Human Rights Watch had a new report on civilians killed by Iraqi and Coalition bombings in west Mosul. It investigated 7 incidents where 44 people were killed in air strikes. In the first incident in Resala a house was struck because there was an Islamic State car parked behind it. The second was at the Mosul Railway Station where the insurgents were in the neighborhood but not around the house, yet it was struck with a bomb. The third attack happened in Sakak where IS fighters were on the roof bringing in an airstrike. The fourth occurred in Tanak where IS men were firing outside, then ran through the house to another firing position, and the house was hit after the militants had exited. The fifth incident was in Tanak as well. There were IS fighters outside when the building was struck. The sixth incident was in Thawra. IS had used a house 3-4 days before, but had left. Afterwards up to 90 people were sheltering in the building attempting to escape the fighting when it was hit wounding 88 of the occupants. The last airstrike was provoked by insurgents firing from the roof of a house and then moving on. The house was hit after they left. Human Rights Watch condemned the Iraqi and Coalition forces for not being more careful when using air power, and causing so many civilian casualties. It also criticized the Islamic State for using civilian homes and human shields, which led to these bombings. There has been a huge increase in the number of people killed in Mosul since the western section was attacked in February. Human Rights Watch explained a major reason why this is happening.

There were two stories on security in the liberated sections of Mosul. First the army turned over two neighborhoods in east Mosul to the local police. The Deputy Governor of Ninewa Mohammed Rabbo was also worried of news that ex-Ninewa Governor Atheel Nujafi’s Ninewa Guards may be given responsibility for parts of the city. Rabbo didn’t think they were up to the job, and wanted a firm security plan in place to make sure the Islamic State didn’t re-emerge. Holding Mosul has been a continuing problem. Most of the ISF have been committed to taking the city rather than holding it afterward. That has led to a hodgepodge of ISF, local and tribal militias, and Hashd groups doing the job all with little coordination. That might open spaces for the insurgents to exploit in the future if a unified command isn’t arranged.

The National had a story on Yazidis returning to Kocho in western Ninewa. At the end of May, the town was taken by the Hashd. They recruited Yazidis to help with the operation. The village was the site of an Islamic State massacre in 2014 where the militants rounded up the entire population, divided the men from the women, killed the former and enslaved the latter. Six mass graves have been found in the area since its liberation. The United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad hails from the town, and recently had a tear-filled return. Many of the Yazidi Hashd mistrust the local Arabs believing they collaborated with the Islamic State. They also welcomed the Hashd because they don’t believe in the Peshmerga who abandoned them to the militants in 2014. The article did a good job capturing the dynamics in the Sinjar district. The Kurds want to re-establish their control over it, but there are many Yazidis who feel they were abandoned in 2014, and now want their independence. The Hashd are all too willing to help them because they oppose the Kurds authority in the area.

Michael Knights and Malik Hamdi wrote a paper for the Fikra Forum attempting to formulate a way to secure Sinjar with all of these opposing forces at work. They suggested Irbil and Baghdad look back at the Combined Security Mechanism created by the United States in December 2009, which set up joint Kurdish and Iraqi checkpoints and patrols. That would be extremely difficult since the Americans are no longer on the ground to mediate this process, but if some type of cooperative command was not establish this could quickly devolve into armed confrontations. That’s because it’s not just the Hashd and Kurds that are having at each other, but there is also the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), which are backed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Kurds are opposed to those two groups as well because they are another challenge to their authority. All three of these groups are in a war of words with each other, and that could escalate after the Islamic State is defeated.

The government is slowly restoring services to Mosul, but is running into big problems. Baghdad suggested that roughly a third of Kirkuk province’s power supply be diverted to Mosul to help with the rebuilding. Kirkuk threatened to cut off electricity to the capital in retaliation if the central government followed through with this plan. It warned that it would be facing major shortages if it lost so much power. Iraq has never been able to meet the public’s demand for electricity since 2003. Blackouts are still common especially during the summer heat. It’s for those reasons that Kirkuk is so opposed to this idea.

People were still flowing out of Mosul and Tal Afar as well. In middle of the first week of June around 2,400 left Tal Afar and 7,000 came out of Mosul. To meet the continued outflow the United Nations opened a new camp south of Mosul Al Salamiya 2 that can hold up to 30,000. Displacement is lower than the previous week. That’s due to the heavy fighting, which has restricted movement inside Mosul. If that shifted there could be a large number of people coming out of Mosul. The new camp will help deal with that as the others south of the city are full or over capacity, and the government is not helping displaced to camps in the east and north where there is room.


Ahmad, Rezan, “Federal police confirm that they are about to announce the full liberation of Zanjili,” Bas News, 6/7/17

Baghdad Post, "8 Iraqi soldiers killed in explosion in Mosul's Zanjili," 6/7/17

Bas News, "IS Sleeper Cells Kill 7 Iraqi Troops in Liberated District of Mosul," 6/7/17

Frantzma, Seth, “Will Iraq’s Shia Militias Give Iran a ‘Road to the Sea’?” The National Interest, 6/6/17

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: Civilian Casualties Mount in West Mosul,” 6/6/17

Knights, Michael, Malik, Hamdi, “Building a “Joint Force” to Control Liberated Yazidi Towns,” Fikra Forum, 6/7/17

Konstantinidis, Alkis, “Islamic State jails hidden among ordinary villas in Mosul,” 6/7/17

Al Maalomah, “A deputy for Nineveh reveals mandate of Nujafi forces to hold Mosul after liberation,” 6/7/17

Al Mada, “Abadi: We are cooperating with Syria to end the danger of Daash,” 6/7/17

March 14, "Eleven Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven wounded when a booby-trapped house exploded in a neighborhood in west Mosul," 6/7/17

Masral Arabia, "Seven Iraqi Special Forces were killed in an attack on Zinjali in Mosul," 6/7/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Agency: IS target civilians with chemical weapons in Mosul's Zanjili," Iraqi News, 6/7/17

Neuhof, Florian, “After years of murder and enslavement by ISIL, Iraq’s Yazidis are determined to liberate their own homeland,” The National, 6/7/17

New Sabah, “Joint forces reclaim 90% of Zanjili neighborhood and approach Bab Sinjar in West Mosul,” 6/7/17

Al Rafidain, "Sniper Fire of the Islamic State Organization in Zanjili Neighborhood In The Right Bank Of Mosul," 6/7/17

Rudaw, “Kirkuk to stop sending oil if Baghdad mandates energy sharing,” 6/7/17

Shafaaq News, “Daash using booby-trapped civilian cars and their homes to close streets and hinder progress in Mosul,” 6/7/17
- “Iraqi forces reinforce their progress and evacuate 100 families living in West Mosul,” 6/7/17
- “Local police take over the task of maintaining security in Mosul neighborhoods,” 6/7/17

Al Sumaria, "16 civilians killed and wounded in a Daesh bombing west Mosul," 6/7/17
- “The federal police announce control of 85% of Zanjili and access to Bab Sinjar,” 6/7/17

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 6 June 2017,” 6/6/17
- “UNHCR Iraq opens new camp for displaced families who continue to flee fighting in Mosul and other areas,” 6/7/17

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