Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 246-47 Jun 19-20 2017


Iraqi police fighting in west Mosul’s Old City (AFP)

The Iraqi forces (ISF) made another advance, while the Islamic State is down to just one district under its control in Mosul. First, the army’s 9th Division announced that the Shifa neighborhood was finally freed. That allowed the ISF to also take the western end of the Fifth Bridge across the Tigris River. The Federal Police were still fighting for Bab al-Baid, attacked Bab al-Lakash, and advanced 200 meters into the Farouq area all in the Old City. The Golden Division freed Khazraj in that district as well. The insurgents launched another counter attack into Danadan south of the Old City, but was turned back. Shifa was a difficult battle, holding up the Iraqi forces for almost a month. With that finally under control, IS only holds the Old City. It will likely be the hardest part of the entire campaign because the streets are so narrow military vehicles cannot traverse them, the houses are so densely laid out that artillery, mortars and air strikes will likely take a heavy civilian toll, and the militants have nowhere to go, and will fight to the death. There are already signs of that as more than 200 bodies were said to have been pulled out of the rubble caused by ISF air strikes and artillery over the last few days.

Iraqis are already preparing for life after the Islamic State. The security committee on the Ninewa council discussed protecting Mosul and the governorate in the next phase of the war against the insurgents. It mentioned that it would be based upon intelligence, which would be used to hunt down IS elements and stop infiltrations. It promised that a security plan would be implemented in the city after it was freed. While those plans sound good, following them up will be difficult. There is a hodgepodge of groups across Ninewa and inside the city itself. None of these groups coordinate, many are rivals of each other, and have political aspirations too. Those differences offer ample opportunities for the Islamic State to exploit.

The Hashd were again talking about liberating Tal Afar to the west of Mosul. Hashd leader Nazim al-Asadi was quoted as saying that the town would be freed soon after Ramadan was finished. He added that international pressure, probably referring to Turkey, would not stop things. Currently the army is attacking the village, not the Hashd. The Hashd surrounded the town months ago, but pressure from Ankara stopped Baghdad from letting them advance any further. That’s also why the army was given the final task. The Hashd may be allowed to join in when Tal Afar is reached, but that is unknown at this time.

The rate of displacement from Mosul has slowed in recent days, and there is concerns about their fate. The United Nations counted 417,438 displaced on June 18. The number of people coming out of the city was down 50%. From June 11 to 17 21,000 left Mosul, down from 43,000 the week before. The ISF are also taking people directly from west Mosul to the east using a pontoon bridge across the Tigris. From June 11 to 17 8,300 arrived in the east using this route. A Ninewa councilman warned that IS members were escaping by hiding amongst the displaced. He called on the security forces to step up their screening process. At the same time, the Mosul city council announced that it was going to expel all the IS families from the city and send them to special camps to be held. The fears that the Islamic State might return after the city is freed is leading to these statements and decisions. There is also the thirst for revenge, and with Baghdad having no reconciliation plan, politicians and armed groups are exacting their own justice not only on IS members, but their families as well. This is occurring in other parts of the country as well such as Anbar and Salahaddin. IS relatives are being ostracized, isolated in camps, and blocked from returning to their homes and lives. It is another sign of the divisions that the insurgents caused in Iraqi society that will take a long time to heal.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraqi forces advance in Mosul Old City, rescue civilians,” 6/20/17

AIN, “Urgent Liberation of Al Shifa district in the south and control of the fifth bridge and archeological fort in the right bank of Mosul,” 6/20/17

Baghdad Post, “Iraqi security forces besiege Mostashfa Jomhuri St., in Mosul’s Shifaa,” 6/20/17

BBC, “Mosul battle: Fierce fighting as Iraqi troops push into Old City,” 6/19/17

Bulos, Nabih, “Government forces begin storming Mosul’s Old City as Islamic State makes a last stand in its Iraqi ‘capital,’” Los Angeles Times, 6/18/17

Chmaytelli, Maher, “Iraq’s army encircles Islamic State in Mosul’s Old City: military,” Reuters, 6/20/17

Al Ghad Press, “Federal Police: We approached within 500 meters of Al-Farouq Street in the center of Old City in Mosul,” 6/19/17
- “Jawadat: Fierce confrontations with Daesh in the old city in the buildings and electricity poles,” 6/19/17
- “Security forces liberate Khazraj area and advance towards al-Hadbaa in West Mosul,” 6/20/17

Harmon, Dwayne, “Iraqi troops launch offensive against last IS enclave in Iraq,” New Burgh Gazette, 6/20/17

iMMAP, “Iraq: Mosul Humanitarian Response: Weekly Explosive Incident Report (11 – 17 June 2017),” 6/19/17

International Committee of the Red Cross, “Mosul, Iraq: Nowhere safe for civilians as battle intensifies,” 6/19/17

International Organization for Migration, “Iraq: Displacement Tracking Matrix, Emergency Tracking – Mosul Operations Data Snapshot: 18 June 2017,” 6/18/17

Iraq News Center, "Mosul Urgent More than 200 bodies have been exhumed in the past 48 hours, civilians have been buried under the rubble of their homes by aerial bombardment and artillery, mostly children and women," 6/19/17

Iraq News Network, “Mosul security: The next battle in the province will be intelligence,” 6/19/17
-“The popular crowd confirms that Soleimani is their actual leader and coordinate with Abadi,” 6/20/17

Iraq Newspaper, “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter In Mosul: The Arrest Of The Daesh Radio Announcer,” 6/20/17
- “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter In Mosul: The Liberation Of Khazraj And A Booby Trap Inside Republican Hospital Killed Reporter,” 6/20/17
- “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter In Mosul: Ninth Division Freed 7 New Places,” 6/20/17
- “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter in Mosul: The Terrorists Launched Attack Upon Old City,” 6/20/17

Al Jazeera, “Iraqi troops encircle Mosul’s Old City,” 6/20/17

Karzai, Sergi and Rashid, Ahmed, “The Battle of the Old City of Mosul runs from house to house and the militants resist,” Reuters, 6/19/17

Al Maalomah, “Abdul Ghani al-Assadi reveals information about the distance to the Hadbaa lighthouse,” 6/20/17
- “Leaders of the popular crowd announce the date of the liberation of Tal Afar,” 6/19/17
- “Ninewa Council: Alleged Daesh members flee from the old city with the displaced,” 6/19/17
- “The popular crowd thwarted Daash attack killing eight of them in Danadan district,” 6/20/17

Al Mada, “Joint forces begin a careful intrusion into old Mosul,” 6/19/17
- “The military leadership is trying to finish Old Mosul battle before Eid,” 6/20/17

Al Mawqif, “Special Task Force II in anti-terrorism forces will free Nouri Mosque,” 6/19/17

McKernan, Bethan “For 100,000 trapped civilians, the battle for Mosul has reached its final but deadliest stage,” Independent, 6/19/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraqi forces foil IS attempt to retake liberated areas in western Mosul,” Iraqi News, 6/20/17
- “Mosul council deports IS fighters families, cites need for rehabilitation,” Iraqi News, 6/20/17
- “Police kill senior IS leader in western Mosul, recapture mosque,” Iraqi News, 6/19/17
- “Toddler dies in Mosul camp as good and medicine scarcity bites,” Iraqi News, 6/19/17
- “UPDATED: Iraqi forces isolate Mosul’s Old City, kill IS media officer,” Iraqi News, 6/20/17

Mostafa, Nehal, “2,300 civilians evacuated, infant rescued from under rubble in western Mosul,” Iraqi News, 6/19/17
- “Path to safety from besieged Mosul leads through hole in wall,” Iraqi News, 6/19/17

New Sabah, “Destroying Daesh’s defensive lines in the old city of Mosul,” 6/19/17

Radio Sawa, “Old Mosul .. Fighting face to face,” 6/19/17

Rojkan, Mira, “Iraqi Forces Evacuate Thousands of Civilians From Mosul’s Old City,” Bas News, 6/19/17

Shafaaq News, “The Federal Police announce the deaths of more than 30 Daesh in the battle for the old city,” 6/20/17
- “Iraqi forces have difficulty breaking into the medical complex in Mosul,” 6/19/17
Shafaaq News-20/17

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 18 June 2017,” 6/18/17

Waradana, “The Federal Police moved into Bab Lakash area central Mosul,” 6/20/17

Watan News, “27 terrorists killed and three car bombs destroyed in old Mosul,” 6/20/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces launch alley battles amid fierce IS resistance in Mosul,” 6/20/17


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