There was a late report of violence in Mosul on August 6. That day there were five incidents plus a mass grave discovered all in the western half. Additionally, a member of the Education Directorate was shot and killed in the east. August 6 was one of the most violent days in the city for quite some time. It was another reminder that not only are IS elements still hiding out in the tunnels of the Old City, but has cells roaming the rest of Mosul as well.
Control of Mosul remains in transition. The spokesman for the Joint Operations Command General Yahya Rasool said that the army would remain in the city until the local police were built back up. That came after units from the 9th and 16th Division were pulled out to be used in the Tal Afar operation. The Federal Police is taking over many of those areas. The Ninewa Council has been asking Baghdad for months to re-instate the former police, but it appears that the central government would rather create a brand new force. That could take months to years, and there appeared to be no pre-planning for it either. That has left Mosul and Ninewa to a mix of over 30 different forces from tribal Hashd to Hashd to police to Federal Police to the army to the Golden Division. There is no overall command for these forces, there is little to no coordination, and many of the Hashd and tribal Hashd are rivals. Again, Baghdad did not prepare for this contingency leading to this ad hoc situation. Luckily, the Islamic State is on the run, but once it regroups this hodgepodge situation could easily be exploited by the militants.
For over two weeks now the Iraqi forces (ISF) have said the Tal Afar operation is right around the corner. The Defense Ministry was the latest to announce that the battle plan was completed and that a starting date has been set. Air strikes have been going on for days and knocked out several bridges in the district to limit the insurgents freedom of movement. A MiG flying reconnaissance was hit over the town by IS fire, wounding the two crew members. The Federal Police started reconnaissance missions and setting up logistics for the campaign. A member of the Ninewa council claimed all the civilians had fled Tal Afar only leaving IS families. Finally, Al Mada had a good piece on the challenges in the upcoming fight. Some parts of Tal Afar are as densely laid out as Mosul. There are also many orchards in the south. Those two areas could be difficult zones to maneuver through for the ISF. On the other hand, the article contradicted the councilman’s claim that all the people were out of the district, noting that non-IS families were on the perimeter of the town, which could help with their evacuation so they don't get caught up in the combat. Finally, there are not many fighters left. The campaign was originally supposed to start at the end of July, but the Hashd had to move back from the Syrian border, which caused a delay. That should end very soon.
The number of displaced (IDPs) in Ninewa has recently plateaued. On July 30, there were 837,450 IDPs. A week later on July 6 there were 838,950. Many of the people entering camps are going through their second or third displacement. Many fled Mosul, went back, but now are leaving once again due to their homes being destroyed, not having any money, the lack of jobs, high rent, and not being able to afford basic needs. Rudaw for example, had a short video about all the people looking for employment in the city. Continued news of IS attacks is keeping the number of people departing the camps at a relatively low level. From August 2-3, 420 families left. The main reasons why people want out is that there are no jobs, and there is no air conditioning during the sweltering summer heat. Since the start of the Mosul campaign there has been a constant movement of people in and out of the camps. That trend continues even after the city has been freed. Until there is a decided change in the overall situation, this will go on.
Baghdad Post, “Video: Iraqi jets destroy bridges, arches in Tal Afar,” 8/7/17
Bas News, “Iraqi Army Continues Security Measures in Liberated Mosul,” 8/8/17
Iraq Newspaper, “Al-Iraq Reporter In Mosul The Terrorist Daesh Down MiG In Tal Afar,” 8/7/17
Al Maalomah, “Ninewa Council: Tal Afar is free of civilians and there are only Daesh families in the area,” 8/7/17
Al Mada, “Federal Police: We started reconnaissance operations for Tal Afar battle,” 8/8/17
- “Mosul scenario is to be repeated in Tal Afar after military buildup is completed,” 8/7/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Army ordered to move from Mosul to Tal Afar preparing for invasion,” Iraqi News, 8/7/17
Mostafa, Nehal, “Arrangements for Tal Afar invasion concluded: Defense Ministry,” Iraqi News, 8/7/17
NINA, "Gunmen Kill An Employee Of Nineveh Education Directorate," 8/6/17
Rudaw, “Lack of money means slow start to reconstruction of Mosul,” 8/7/17
Sulaivany, Karzan, “Iraqi army will temporarily enforce security in Mosul: Army Spokesperson,” 8/7/17
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 6 August 2017,” 8/6/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 30 July 2017,” 7/30/17