Saturday, December 31, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 75, Dec 30, 2016


In the two days since the Mosul campaign officially restarted there has not been much movement. On the first day the Quds neighborhood in east Mosul was freed for the fourth time. On the second day a pharmaceutical plant in Bawiza outside of the Mosul to the north was liberated, and the Iraqi Forces (ISF) were trying to secure the Mosul-Tal Skurf road. The new plan is to attempt a double pincer move with army and police pushing from the north and south meeting with the Special Forces Golden Division in the center. So far the ISF have only been trying to secure areas that they have already freed or entered before.

On December 30 there was fighting Hadbaa in the north, Palestine, Intisar, Salam, Nassir, and Shaimaa in the southeast, and Quds and Karama in the center, while other units were trying to secure the areas they had already freed. The Islamic State counter attacked in Sukar, Falah, and Hadbaa in the north, Tamim in the center, and Nassir and Wahda in the southeast. In the process four suicide bombers were killed, and twenty-six car bombs were destroyed. Again, all of these areas have been fought over in the last two months.

The Iraqi press reported that the Islamic State was pulling its families out of the city and sending them west. Similar stories have been published since the start of the battle for Mosul in October to show that the insurgents were collapsing. The fight they’ve put up so far has shown that hasn’t happened yet.

The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times both had a pieces on the difficult job the security forces have screening people for Islamic State members and sympathizers. AP talked with a man from IS occupied west Mosul who was caught in east Mosul. The ISF thought he was an IS member and beat him to try to get him to confess. Other people complained that the government forces were not letting them return to liberated areas. The Los Angeles Times on the other hand observed the courts that have been set up to process people. Everyone claimed that they were innocent, but if a person testified against someone they were automatically sent to a criminal court. The judges hear dozens and dozens of cases each day. This is a very difficult process that can take a long time. There are some abuses going on, and some IS members are being missed, but it is necessary.

Finally, a Kurdish official complained again about being overwhelmed with casualties. Many of the ISF and civilian casualties from the Mosul campaign have been sent to hospitals in Irbil. Those facilities are running out of space and medicine for all of the people they are seeing. The Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rashid said that over 13,500 have been treated so far, and they can’t take anymore. With only about 25% of Mosul occupied Irbil will have to make do or more hospitals will have to be opened because there is a lot more fighting laying ahead.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Army forces repel Islamic State's attack near Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/30/16
- “Iraqi forces face Islamic State car bombs, fierce resistance in south Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/30/16
- “Islamic State abruptly evacuates its members from 4 areas near Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/30/16

AIN, “Federal Police: 66 terrorists killed in Nassir neighborhood in left coast Mosul,” 12/30/16
- “Federal police chief: Daesh crumbles on the left coast neighborhoods and killed 25 of its leaders,” 12/30/16
- “Four Daesh leaders killed in the left coast Mosul,” 12/30/16

Al Alam, “Fresh VIDEO: Iraqi Army Forces Launch Massive Attacks against ISIS in Mosul,” 12/30/16
- “Fresh VIDEO: Iraqi Civilians Flee as Fighting against ISIS Resumes near Mosul,” 12/30/16
- “Join Forces Liberate 2 Villages, Kill 70 ISIS Members in Northern Mosul,” 12/30/16

Bas News, “Over 13,000 injured from Mosul Operation Received Treatment in KRG,” 12/30/16

Coles, Isabel and Kalin, Stephen, "Iraqi offensive launch second phase of Mosul offensive against Islamic State," Reuters, 12/29/16

Dunlop, W.G., “Iraq forces fight muddy street battle against IS in Mosul,” Agence France Presse, 12/30/16

Hendawi, Hamza, “Some in Mosul wary of return of Iraq’s government,” Associated Press, 12/30/16

Hennessy-Fiske, Molly, “These judges decide the fate of Islamic State fighters and collaborators,” Los Angeles Times, 12/29/16

Hicks, Tyler, “Along Mosul’s Front Line, Desperate Civilians and Dug-In troops and Fighters,” New York Times, 12/29/16

Kalin, Stephen, “Iraqi forces face fierce Islamic State combat in south Mosul,” Reuters, 12/30/16

Al Mada, "Anti-Terrorism forces destroy four car bombs left coast of Mosul," 12/30/16
- "Federal Police kill senior Daesh leader and blow up car bomb east Mosul," 12/30/16
- "Killing six Daesh members and destruction of car bomb southeast Mosul," 12/30/16

Al Maalomah, “War Media: The destruction of dozens of car bombs in Ninewa We Are Coming operation,” 12/30/16

Al Masalah, "Four suicide bombers killed trying to infiltrate village north Mosul," 12/30/16
- "Freed pharmaceutical plant north of Mosul," 12/30/16
- “Nineveh operations: left side of Mosul will be fully liberated,” 12/30/16

NINA, “/70/ terrorists killed, including the Military Commander of the north of the left coast of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Federal Police Forces Enter The Stadium Between Sumer and Palestine,” 12/29/16
- “More than /100/ elements of Daesh killed on the left coast of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Urgent../24/ terrorists killed within the south-eastern axis of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Urgent..The Anti-terrorism frees the first Al-Quds neighborhood in Mosul,” 12/29/16

Otten, Cathy, “Mosul residents face battle for survival,” UNHCR, 12/28/16

Rudaw, "Coalition strikes kill dozens of ISIS militants on second day of renewed Mosul operation," 12/30/16

Shafaaq News, “Army repels attack north Mosul, killing one Daesh member,” 12/30/16
- “Army repels Daesh attack on neighborhood of east Mosul,” 12/30/16
- “Battle of Mosul: tangible progress and the killing of tens of Daesh,” 12/30/16
- “Clear outline of Battle of Mosul.. The new target,” 12/30/16
- “Iraqi forces face fierce resistance from Daesh in south Mosul,” 12/30/16
- “Limited progress on second day of second phase of the Battle of Mosul,” 12/30/16
- “A security commander announced killing 25 foreign fighters and Daesh leader in the left coast of Mosul,” 12/30/16


Friday, December 30, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 74, Dec 29, 2016


The second phase of the Mosul campaign officially opened on December 29. Offensive operations actually started on December 24 when several east Mosul neighborhoods were attacked. The new push involves units from the Golden, 16th, 15th, 9th Divisions, along with the Federal Police, SWAT, and Hashd al-Watani, a militia backed by Turkey, which follows former Ninewa Governor Atheel Nujafi. There are three lines of attack, one from the northeast, one from the east, and another from the southeast. It appears the plan is to have the Golden Division supported by the army and Federal Police push in the middle to hold down Islamic State fighters, while the 9th and 16th Divisions, police and the Hashd al-Watani make a pincer move from the north and south encircling all of east Mosul. The U.S. just knocked out the last bridge crossing the Tigris River that connects west and east sides of the city to trap IS forces in the latter. It also blew up a makeshift boat bridge IS had constructed across the river. American artillery is also supporting the attack. The ISF is also shelling the city extensively in a change of tactics. Before the Iraqi forces were trying to keep civilian casualties low, but with their own losses mounting and the original push into the city having stalled it is now willing to accept the consequences.

Twenty-one neighborhoods were involved in the day’s operations, five of which were newly entered, with the other 16 having been liberated or attacked before. The Golden Division freed Quds in the east for the fourth time. IS has constantly re-infiltrate into areas, plus some have been declared liberated when they were not. The Iraqi Forces (ISF) for example found six IED factories in Gogjali an east Mosul suburb, which was entered at the very end of October, yet the insurgents were still working there two months later. During the days fighting 47 car bombs were destroyed and at least two suicide bombers killed. IS snipers also killed 15 people.

Neighborhoods In East Mosul Attacked Dec. 29, 2016
Quds – Originally attacked 11/1/16, freed 4 times
Karama – Originally attacked 10/31/16, freed 3 times
Intisar – Originally attacked 11/1/16, freed 3 times
Salam – Originally attacked 11/11/16, freed 2 times
Palestine – Originally attacked 11/13/16, freed 1 time
Hadbaa – Originally attacked 11/15/16
Nassir – Originally attacked 11/17/16
Sumer – Originally attacked 11/30/16
Wahda – Originally attacked 11/30/16
Sukar – Originally attacked 12/3/16, freed 1 time
Mithaq – Originally attacked 12/6/16
Shaimaa – Originally attacked 12/6/16
Dumiz – Originally attacked 12/6/16
Muthanna – Originally attacked 12/7/16, freed 1 time
Siha – Originally attacked 12/7/16, freed 1 time
Mazare – Originally attacked 12/19/16
Maqbara – Newly entered
Muhandis – Newly entered
Yarmja – Newly entered
Sinai – Newly entered
Madaat – Newly entered

In the north, outside of Mosul the army and Hashd al-Watani freed the towns of Tawila and Sadah. Eight car bombs were destroyed in the process. The first village had been declared liberated before on December 24.

The number of displaced people continued its upward trend. On October 20 there were just 5,640 people registered with the government and aid agencies. That jumped to 15,804 on October 27, 21,791 on November 3, 45,294 on November 10, 58,716 on November 17, 68,964 on November 24, 77,046 on December 1, 82,698 on December 8, 96,864 on December 15, 108,624 on December 22, and finally 116,292 by December 29. Those figures have fluctuated day to day as some people go back and more flee. On December 26 for example, there were 116,490 registered displaced, but that went down to 115,242 on December 27 before going back up the next two days. There are several hundred more that are homeless within the city, but have chosen to stay either because they want to be near their residences or are trapped by the fighting.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Army forces kill 20 IS members, destroy car bombs southeast of Nineveh," Iraqi News, 12/29/16
- “Iraqi forces killed 14 IS members east of Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/19/16
- “Iraqi forces storm into 3 new neighborhoods in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 11/15/16
- "Joint forces liberate 2 villages, kill 70 IS members in northern Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/29/16
- "Nineveh Guards kill 9 IS members in northern Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/29/16

Agence France Presse, “Iraq forces in ‘second phase’ of east Mosul battle: commander,” 12/29/16

AIN, “Federal Police: 101 Daash killed total on the left coast of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “International Alliance: Iraqi forces are making significant progress in Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Killed about 200 terrorists in launching second phase of the liberation of the left coast of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Urgent counterterrorism forces liberate Kafat neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul,” 12/3/16

Al Alam, "Iraqi Forces Liberate Strategic ISIS-Held Regions in Nineveh Province," 12/27/16

Bas News, “Iraqi Forces Retake Two More Neighborhoods Eastern Mosul,” 12/6/16

BBC, “Mosul battle: Iraqi forces advance in fresh push,” 12/29/16

Coles, Isabel and Kalin, Stephen, "Iraqi offensive launch second phase of Mosul offensive against Islamic State," Reuters, 12/29/16

Al Forat, “24 Daash killed and destroyed eight car bombs in the south-east axis of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Federal Police kill about a hundred Daash and moving hundreds of feet into left coast of Mosul,” 12/29/16
- “Al Forat Announces incursion into five neighborhoods on Mosul’s left coast, and continued clearing of Tal Afar Airport,” 11/17/16

El-Ghobashy, Tamer and Nabhan, Ali, “Iraqi Forces Shift Tactics in Mosul as Forces Advance on New Fronts,” Wall Street Journal, 12/29/16

Hennessy-Fiske, Molly, “New phase begins in offensive to drive Islamic State out of key city of Mosul,” Los Angeles Times, 12/29/16

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix Emergency Tracking Factsheet #9 – Mosul Operations From 17 October To 29 December,” 12/29/16

Iraq News, "Details on the liberation operation in the remaining neighborhoods of the left coast of Mosul," 12/29/16

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Dec. 6, 2016,” 12/6/16
- “Inside Mosul: Dec. 7, 2016,” 12/7/16
- "Inside Mosul: Dec. 24-26, 2016," 12/28/16
- “Inside Mosul: Dec. 28, 2016,” 12/30/16
- “Inside Mosul: Dec. 29, 2016,” 12/30/16
- "Inside Mosul: Nov. 1, 2016," 11/1/16
- “Inside Mosul: Nov. 5, 2016,” 11/5/16
- “Inside Mosul: Nov. 13, Nov. 13,” 11/13/16
- “Inside Mosul: Nov. 21, 2016,” 11/21/16

Kalin, Stephen and Chmaytelli, Maher, “Iraqi forces make first push into Mosul as offensive enters third week,” Reuters, 10/31/16

Al Maalomah, “Dozens of Daash dead in day’s operations in Ninewa We Are Coming,” 12/29/16

Al Mada, “Breaking into eight districts and increases pressure on Daesh on the left coast,” 11/11/16
- “Joint forces cleared a village and kill 70 Daesh members,” 12/29/16
- “Second phase of Mosul operations will move on several axes,” 12/29/16
- “The start of the second phase operation to clear the left coast of Mosul,” 12/29/16

Al Masalah, “Freed three neighborhoods in Mosul and two villages in Tal Afar,” 11/26/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraqi army engages in ferocious fights with ISIS east of Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/6/16

NINA, “Anti-Terrorism Forces Storm 3 Residential Neighborhoods in Mosul, kill 16 Terrorists,” 11/30/16
- “Security Forces Liberate Sukkar Area North Of Mosul,” 12/15/16

Rojkan, Mira, “Joint Forces Continue to Advance, Liberating More Areas in Mosul,” Bas News, 12/4/16

Rudaw, “ISIS ‘defense wall” runs through eastern Mosul,” 12/29/16
- "LIVE UPDATE: Iraqi forces relaunch Mosul offensive, enter new neighborhood," 12/29/16
- “US soldiers pound ISIS in Mosul with M777 artillery shells,” 12/29/16

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces clear areas freed from IS in eastern Mosul,” 11/9/16
- "Iraqi forces free more districts in eastern Mosul," 11/4/16
- "Iraqi forces regain ground, kill 200 IS militants in new push to free Mosul," 12/29/16



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 73, Dec 28, 2016


The Mosul campaign is back in action, which meant there was more heavy fighting. The Iraqi forces (ISF) attacked the Rafaq and Baladiyat neighborhoods in the northeast section of the city. The Islamic State on the other hand was counter attacking throughout Mosul and in four towns to the west and north. Inside the city it attacked the Hadbaa, Sumer, Zaytoun, Salam, and Police Academy with 6 car bombs and 5 suicide bombers. Noor was hit with mortars, and it blew up two of its police headquarters and the Salam Hospital in Wahda in the southeast. Three civilians were also killed by IS snipers. The new plan calls for the ISF to push in from the northeast, east, and southeast by the Golden, 9th and 16th Divisions along with some other army brigades, and the Federal Police and Ninewa police providing artillery and holding areas cleared.

There was more news on the displacement going on. The United Nations had 114,042 people registered with the government and aid groups. Roughly one thousand people are leaving their homes a day. The U.N. figures did not include people being displaced within Mosul because they do not sign up for assistance. On December 28 for example, IS was reported to be forcing residents out of four neighborhoods in northern Mosul. These citizens are staying within the city sheltering with others. That could easily add a few hundred more to the total.

Finally, from October 17 to December 28 4,279 have been killed and 8,028 wounded during the battle for Mosul in Ninewa. The Islamic State executed 2,727 people with the other 1,552 dying in the fighting. Civilians have faced the brunt of the casualties with 3,878 killed and 6,903 wounded. 250 members of the Iraqi forces, 82 Hashd, 65 Peshmerga, 2 Kurdish Counter Terrorism, 1 Hashd al-Watani, and 1 U.S. sailor have been killed, and 811 ISF, 253 Peshmerga, 59 Hashd, and 2 Hashd al-Watani have been wounded.

Mosul Campaign Casualties 10/17-12/28/16

4,279 Killed
1 U.S. Sailor, 1 Hashd al-Watani, 2 Kurd CT, 16 Police, 28 ISF, 65 Peshmerga, 82 Hashd, 206 Soldiers
3,878 Civilians

8,028 Wounded
2 Hashd al-Watani, 4 Police, 59, Hashd, 253 Peshmerga, 353 ISF, 454 Soldiers
6,903 Civilians

2,727 Executed by the Islamic State

247 Killed, 156 Wounded by Coalition Air Strikes

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Nineveh Operations repulses attack by 100 IS militants near Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/28/16

AIN, "Federal artillery destroyed three vehicles including a bob on the left coast of Mosul," 12/28/16

Hendawi, Hamza, “Iraqi Forces in Mosul Reinforced, New Push Against IS Soon,” Associated Press, 12/28/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Updated: army soldier killed in Islamic State attacks in Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/28/16

NINA, "/3/ youths killed by Daesh snipers when they tried to escape east of Mosul," 12/28/16
- "/7/ civilians killed in bombing by Daesh, and the Iraqi forces stormed two residential buildings in the northern axis of Mosul," 12/28/16
- "Daesh Blows Up 2 HQs And Emergency Center Of Salam Hospital Southeast of Mosul," 12/28/16
- "Iraqi Forces Repel An Attack To Daesh With Participation Of Dozens Of Suicide Bombers And Car Bombs North of Mosul," 12/28/16
- "The killing of 10 Daesh members and two vehicles west of Mosul," 12/28/16
- "Security Forces Destroy 3 Vehicles To Daesh In Mosul," 12/28/16
- "Seven terrorists killed and two vehicles belonging to them destroyed during repelling an attack to Daesh on a village west of Mosul," 12/28/16

Rudaw, "Iraqi forces repel two ISIS counterattacks in and around Mosul," 12/28/16

Shafaaq News, “Daesh forcing hundreds of civilians to evacuate their homes and displacement outdoors in four neighborhoods in Mosul,” 12/28/16

UN News Service, “Iraq: Nearly 115,000 people displaced, 50,000 children affected by Mosul military operation – UN,” 12/28/16


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 72, Dec 27, 2016

 
American and Iraqi commanders were still talking about the next phase of the Mosul campaign when it already started. December 24 the Iraqi forces (ISF) began operations began. That day the Golden Division attacked Sukar and freed Falah in Mosul, while the army’s 71st and 76th Brigades took Zaytoun, and the town of Qaryat Tawilah. December 25 the Golden, 9th and 16th Divisions entered Quds, Sumer, and Dumiz in east Mosul. Then on December 26 U.S. forces shelled five neighborhoods in the city for the first time. Finally, on December 27 Quds was taken. Sukar, Falah, and Quds have been freed several times before, while Sumer and Dumiz have been fought over as well. The Ninewa Operations Command also discovered six IED factories in Gogjali an eastern suburb of the city. That was the first entered back on October and liberated twice before yet the Islamic State was still operative there.

The Hashd have been inactive for a few days as well, but since December 24 have taken two more towns in the west around Tal Afar including Qameshliyah on December 27.

The U.S. led Coalition destroyed the last bridge connecting eastern and western Mosul. The Old Bridge was hit December 26. There are five spans total across the Tigris River in the city. Two were hit in October, two more in November, and then the Old Bridge twice in December. The Americans took out the bridge to hinder the militants’ ability to traverse the city and bring in supplies and remove their dead and wounded. IS and people of Mosul have been using small boats to cross the Tigris since the bridges were struck.

The Islamic State was also active. It executed 7 people in Mosul, and counter attacked in the Shaimaa neighborhood of the city, along with three towns, one in the south, one in the west, and one in the north. It also seized large parts of the Intisar area of east Mosul before being evicted in heavy fighting. The insurgents continued to force people out of their homes to use them as firing positions.

Finally, the government said 290 families had returned to Gogjali. There were in camps in Bashiqa previously. A few thousand people have gone back since the start of the battle of Mosul, which started in the middle of October. The number of returns has been overshadowed by the one thousand plus displaced each day due to the fighting.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Car bomb blast near Mosul leaves 10 casualties," Iraqi News, 12/27/16
- "Counter-Terrorism forces free 2 neighborhoods in Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/13/16
- "Iraqi Forces Drive Back Massive Attack by Daesh, Kill 30 Militants," 12/27/16
- "Islamic State executes 7 civilians east of Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/27/16

AIN, "Urgent counterterrorism liberate Kafat neighborhood on the left coast of Mosul," 12/3/16

Al Alam, "Iraqi Forces Liberate Strategic ISIS-Held Regions in Nineveh Province," 12/27/16
- "Over 70 ISIS Terrorists Killed by Iraqi Forces Counter Attack in Mosul," 12/26/16

BBC, “Mosul battle: Last bridge ‘disabled by air strike,’” 12/27/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul, Dec. 24-26, 2016," 12/28/16
- “Inside Mosul, Dec. 27, 2016,” 12/27/16
- "Inside Mosul: Nov. 1, 2016," 11/1/16
- "Inside Mosul, Nov. 27, 2016," 11/27/16

Al Mada, "61 Daesh terrorists killed and destroyed three car bombs in frustrated attack in Mosul," 12/27/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Iraqi army engages in ferocious fights with ISIS east of Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/6/16

NINA, "Anti-Terrorism Forces Storm 3 Residential Neighborhoods In Mosul, kill 16 Terrorists," 11/30/16
- "Security Forces Liberate Sukkar Area North Of Mosul," 12/15/16

Sotaliraq, "100 Daash killed in frustrated attack inside left coast of Mosul," 12/16/16
- “290 displaced families returned to Kojla east Mosul,” 12/27/16
- "Iraqi forces stormed Quds east Mosul," 12/25/16
- "Popular crowd destroys two car bombs southeast of Mosul," 12/27/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces free more districts in eastern Mosul," 11/4/16



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 71, Dec 26, 2016


December 25 the Golden Division attacked the Quds district on the outskirts of east Mosul. On December 26 the Islamic State counter attacked there with three car bombs all of which were destroyed. This was the first movement by the Iraqi forces (ISF) in east Mosul in several days after they were paused to recover from two months of heavy fighting.

IS was also said to be changing their tactics inside the city. The group has been relentlessly shelling the eastern half of Mosul. Mortar fire for example, killed two civilians on December 26. Their firing positions however have been targeted by the U.S. led Coalition and Iraqi forces. The militants were now said to be mounting mortars on vehicles so that they could fire, quickly change positions and then fire again before they were spotted and destroyed.

The last two days air strikes have been blamed for civilian casualties inside Mosul. On December 26 seven civilians were wounded in one such incident. It can only be speculated whether this was done by the U.S. led Coalition or the Iraqis.

All of the rest of the news was on plans for the new Mosul campaign. Reuters said that U.S. troops would be inside Mosul itself to provide front line targeting for air strikes and advice to the Iraqi forces. It along with Iraqi News also noted that more troops and police were moving into eastern Mosul to reinforce the units already there, while Al Alam reported that the ISF were fortifying their positions in northern and eastern Mosul.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, “Commander: Military reinforcements arrive in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/26/16

Al Alam, “Over 70 ISIS Terrorists Killed by Iraqi Forces Counter Attack in Mosul,” 12/26/16

Al Forat, "The destruction of three car bombs left coast Mosul," 12/26/16

Kalin, Stephen, “Exclusive: Fresh advance in east Mosul to begin within days – U.S. commander,” Reuters, 12/26/16

Al Maalomah, "The death of two civilians, shelling by Daesh criminals central Mosul," 12/26/16

Rudaw, “US general praises ‘remarkably disciplined’ Shiite forces,” 12/26/16

Shafaaq News, "Wounding seven civilians from one family in air strike east Mosul," 12/26/16



Monday, December 26, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 70, Dec 25, 2016


There was heavy fighting across east Mosul for the last two days. On December 24 there were clashes in eight neighborhoods. December 25 there were attacks in five areas of the city that included at least four car bombs. The Islamic State also carried out operations against the Hashd west of Tal Afar and in the south in Albu Saif with another two vehicle bombs being destroyed. The Golden Division also went on the offensive for the first time in almost a week attacking the Quds neighborhood that had been freed twice before. Other units were clearing freed areas of IEDs. The U.S. also shelled Mosul for the first time. Finally, an air strike was blamed for killing 20 civilians and wounding 55 in the western half of the city.

There was continued talk of the new phase of the Mosul campaign in Iraqi papers. General Fazi Barwari of the Golden Division made the bold prediction that all of east Mosul would be freed by the end of the year. Only about 40% of that section of the city is currently occupied so claiming they would go through the remaining 60% in six days is a little unbelievable. A member of the Hasdh al-Watani, run by former Ninewa governor Atheel Nujafi and backed by Turkey, told the press that the new campaign was supposed to start on December 24, but bad weather pushed it back.

Ninewa officials criticized a recent push on the northern front. On December 23 the 16th Division took the police academy, the vehicle registration building and a cement factory. Former governor Nujafi and members of his Hashd al-Watani claimed the army shelled a neighborhood that was already freed during the operation causing civilian casualties.

SOURCES

Al Alam, "2 Senior ISIL Commanders Killed in Iraqi Missile Strikes on Mosul," 12/25/16
- "Bombings, Mortar Attacks Claim 10 Lives Across Iraq," 12/24/16

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Nov. 1, 2016," 11/1/16

Al Maalomah, "Information published by Ninewa, we are coming on daily operations," 12/25/16

Al Mada, “Changes to Mosul plan call for the use of the popular crowd and 5 thousand U.S. troops,” 12/25/16

Al Masalah, "Killed 21 terrorists and foiled Daesh attack west of Tal Afar," 12/25/16

NINA, "Iraqi Forces Repel Sevearl Attacks To Daesh On Zaytoon And Police Academy In Mosul," 12/24/16
- "Lt. Gen. Saadi Announces Starting The Second Phase Of Liberating Remaining Neighborhoods In Mosul," 12/24/16

Rudaw, “Iraqi troops gearing up for second phase of Mosul offensive,” 12/25/16

Sotaliraq, "Iraqi forces stormed Quds east Mosul," 12/25/16
- "Killing 20 civilians in an air strike on popular market in western Mosul," 12/25/16

Al Sumaria, "A break out of fighting by Counter Terrorism in Jerusalem neighborhood In Left Coast Mosul," 12/25/16

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces free more districts in eastern Mosul," 11/4/16


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 69, Dec 24, 2016


There was some movement on the eastern and western fronts. The Iraqi forces (ISF) freed two towns in the east, while the Hashd liberated a village in the west. The Ghazlani base in southern Mosul continued to be shelled as well. Some Iraqi papers claimed this showed that the Mosul campaign was back in action, but as of now this appeared to be more like minor clearing operations. Otherwise, the Golden Division was removing IEDs from the Zuhur neighborhood in east Mosul, and the Hashd was still working on securing the roads around Tal Afar. Members of Kataib Hezbollah and the Imam Ali Brigades said that bad weather was slowing their operations. A bigger factor was that they are in a holding position around Tal Afar because the army and police have not organized any forces to take the town itself.  

The Iraqi forces continued to plan for the next phase of the operation. They are being reinforced in the east. That included U.S. forces moving up towards the front. American Special Forces have been advising the ISF and calling in air strikes. U.S. apache helicopters and artillery have been supporting the advance as well, along with other Coalition air forces. In one day for instance, a reporter from Foreign Policy noted there were 43 planes from 9 countries over Mosul carrying out various missions from air strikes to jamming communications to re-fueling.

The Islamic State continued to force people from their homes in east Mosul. Al Alam reported that around 250 families were told to leave the Jazir area. IS has been trying to get people to follow their retreat to be used as human shields, while converting the abandoned buildings into firing positions.

On a positive note, a Christmas mass was held in the town of Bartella for the first time in two years. The town was taken by the Islamic State in 2014 and freed in October 2016. Unfortunately the town remains mostly abandoned and destroyed. Almost all the people that attended the service travelled there from Kurdistan where they have been staying since the insurgents swept through the area.

SOURCES

Al Alam, "Bombings, Mortar Attacks Claim 10 Lives Across Iraq," 12/24/16

Face Iraq, “Sources: US ground forces and Apache helicopters in northern Mosul front with the resumption of fighting,” 12/24/16

Al Forat, "Nineveh Operaions: Progress on northern axis and control of road south of Tal Afar to Sinjar, west Mosul,' 12/24/16

Al Maalomah, “Counter-terrorism forces destroying explosives left by Daesh criminals in east Mosul,” 12/24/16
- “Hezbollah Brigades and Imam Ali Brigade reveal reasons for the slowdown of operation on the western axis,” 12/24/16

MacDiarmid, Campbell, “The Battle to Retake Mosul Is Stalemated,” Foreign Policy, 12/22/16

Rudaw, “Christian town east of Mosul celebrates first Christmas post-ISIS,” 12/24/16

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 68, Dec. 23, 2016


There was movement on the northern front for the first time since the start of the month. The Iraqi forces (ISF) cleared the Police Academy and vehicle registration directorate building north of Mosul. The ISF had not done anything in that sector since December 5 when three villages were freed. Northern forces were supposed to organize to take the town of Tal Afar in the west and attack the northern neighborhoods of Mosul in November, but have been stalled. Some units have been shifted to east Mosul instead in recent weeks.

The Iraqi air force dropped more flyers over Mosul. This was a mix of official statements by the government and letters written by citizens. The official ones told people to be patient and that victory was close. The others were personal letters of support for the residents of the city. The ISF has leafleted over Mosul several times before.

Iraqi commanders continue to give contradictory statements about the state of the campaign. General Abdul al-Assadi from the Golden Division told the media that the ISF was planning for a new push to free the rest of eastern Mosul. The commander of Iraqi ground forces on the other hand, General Riyadh Tawfiq claimed there was no pause, but then said in a few days there would be new operations. Due to stiff Islamic State resistance, exhaustion, casualties, lack of supporting troops, police, and Hashd to hold areas freed, and apparent reluctance by some officers to move forward, all fronts have largely halted although fighting continues.

The New York Times featured an article about the future for Christians in Ninewa. Several Christian towns such as Qaraqosh and Bartella have been freed during the campaign, but the piece questioned how many people would return to them. Christian militias who secured some of those areas said they were still afraid of Islamic State attacks, and most villages were destroyed. Since 2003 the Christian population of Iraq has been devastated due to violence. IS’s take over of most of Ninewa in 2014 was just the latest time they were targeted and forced to flee their homes. Many have resettled in other parts of the country or left Iraq overall and those trends only look to be continuing.

Finally the Irbil health directorate provided new information on casualties in Iraq. Many of the wounded from the fighting in east Mosul are sent to that city’s health facilities. With the new data a total of 4,153 people have been killed in Ninewa since the start of the Mosul campaign on October 17, and 7,908 wounded. Roughly 65% of the dead were the result of Islamic State executions, 2,717. When the operation started, the group was forcing people from southern villages to retreat with them towards Mosul to be used as human shields. Later the group separated the men, especially former members of the security forces and carried out mass shootings. Another 247 people have lost their lives and 156 wounded in Coalition air strikes. The real figures are higher due to government censorship and lack of access to the frontlines and areas held by the Islamic State.

Mosul Campaign Casualties 10/17/16-12/22/16

4,153 Killed
1 U.S. Sailor, 1 Hashd al-Watani, 2 Kurd CT, 4 ISF, 11 Police, 65 Peshmerga, 82 Hashd, 189 Soldiers, 3,798 Civilians

7,908 Wounded
2 Hashd al-Watani, 4 Police, 59 Hashd, 253 Peshmerga, 353 ISF, 446 Soldiers, 6,791 Civilians

2,717 Executed by the Islamic State

247 civilians killed, 156 wounded by Coalition air strikes

SOURCES

Kalin, Stephen, “U.S. forces embedding more to help Iraqis retake Mosul – commander,” Reuters, 12/23/16

Al Maalomah, "Foiled suicide attack In Qayyarah," 12/23/16
- "Freed the Police Academy and Directorate of Vehicle Registration north of Mosul," 12/24/16
- "Iraqi aircraft destroyed car bomb targeting federal police southwest of Mosul," 12/23/16

NINA, “Commander of the anti-terrorism device: The next few days will witness the announcement of the liberation of left coast entirely,” 12/22/16
- “Commander of the ground troops confirms from Karbala: No stop of military operations in Mosul,” 12/22/16

Ponomarev, Sergey and Arango, Tim, “For Liberated Iraqi Christians, Still a Bleak Christmas,” New York Times, 12/23/16

Rudaw, “Iraqis send four million letters of love and support to people of Mosul,” 12/23/16
- “UPDATED: Tens of civilians killed in triple ISIS car bomb east of Mosul,” 12/22/16

Sotaliraq, "Killing and wounding 18 civilians shelled by Daesh east Mosul," 12/23/16
- "Security forces advancing on police academy north of Mosul," 12/23/16

Friday, December 23, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 67, Dec 22, 2016


Almost all the combat news on December 22 from the Mosul campaign originated with the Islamic State. Three suicide car bombs hit a market in Gogjali, an east Mosul suburb, which left 30 dead and 60 wounded. Mortar fire also killed 11 in east Mosul, including four aid workers. The Golden Division was involved in heavy clashes in the Tamim neighborhood, which has been cleared twice before. The Federal Police continued its shelling of the Ghazlani camp in south Mosul. Finally, the insurgents attempted to break the encirclement of Tal Afar to the west, but the Hashd turned it back. The Mosul operation is currently in a pause. The eastern forces are being reinforced and re-supplied before they re-start their push into the city. The northern and southern fronts have been stalled for a month a half because they didn’t have police or local Hashd units to hold most of the ground they took. Some of the units that did show up were not up to the task requiring the army to stay in place and clear and hold the areas they had taken. Some units also reportedly did not want to enter Mosul afraid of the heavy casualties they might take. In the west, the Hashd were taking towns around Tal Afar but the army and police haven’t organized any forces to take the town itself. That left almost all the heavy fighting in the east and the Golden Division supported by some army brigades. Now that front is at a standstill as well with fighting over areas already entered. More army and police units are now being shifted to their sector to back them up, and a southern thrust at Mosul is supposed to be in the making as well.

The slow down in operations is leading some Hashd to call for their participation in the urban fighting. A Hashd spokesman and the secretary general of the Hezbollah al-Nujaba were both quoted as saying that the Hashd should enter Mosul. The Iraqi government wanted the Iraqi forces to free the city because it was not only better suited for urban warfare, but it could also help win over the population to Baghdad. As a result an agreement was made to keep the Hashd out. With the fighting dragging on and heavy casualties there will be increasingly pressure from some Hashd to join in despite the deal.

Inside Mosul the Islamists were said to be destroying and looting parts of the Mosul University as well as continuing with the practice of forcing people out of their homes to turn their areas into combat zones. The school used to be one of Iraq’s best higher learning institutions, but now IS is blowing parts of it up as it has done in other sections of the city. Meanwhile in Rabia neighborhood the militants were forcing people to leave for the western side of the city. Their homes will likely be converted into battle positions.

More stories came out on the cost of the Mosul operation. The West Irbil Emergency Hospital told the Associated Press that on days of heavy fighting they could see up to 100 patients. Rudaw quoted the head of the Irbil Health Department that 7,595 people had been treated in the city’s hospitals since the start of the Mosul campaign in the middle of October. That was 3,000 more than had previously been mentioned in the media. Overall that means that roughly 12,000 people have been killed and wounded in Ninewa so far.

Finally, the number of displaced is about to pass the 110,000 mark by next week. The International Organization for Migration’s latest fact sheet showed that the number of people registered with the government or aid groups climbed from 99,394 on December 16 to 108,625 by December 22. During that time span around 1,000 people were fleeing their homes and seeking out help per day. That does not include the hundreds of people sheltering within Mosul itself. When military operations ramp back up that figure will only increase.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Islamic State claims suicide car bombs that killed at least 23 east of Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/22/16

Al Alaem, “Daesh organization destroyed the University of Mosul and plunders its contents,” 12/22/16

Hendawi, Hamza, “After years fleeing IS, tragedy hits Iraqi family in Mosul,” Associated Press, 12/22/16

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix, Emergency Tracking – Fact Sheet #8 – Mosul Operations from 17 October to 22 December,” 12/22/16

Iraq News Network, “Asadi: coordination between Suleimani and Abadi over the popular crowd’s involvement in the liberation of Mosul city center,” 12/22/16

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul, Dec. 10, 2106,” 12/10/16
- “Inside Mosul, Dec. 22, 2016,” 12/22/16

Iskakova, Botagoz, “Iraqi Troops Fighting in Mosul to Be Re-armed,” Bas News, 12/22/16

Al Maalomah, “Nujaba calls to allow the popular crowd to enter Mosul and for the expulsion of the Americans to end the battle quickly,” 12/22/16

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Update: Iraqi troops liberate 28 districts in eastern Mosul,” Iraqi News, 12/9/16

Rudaw, “UPDATED: Tens of civilians killed in triple ISIS car bomb east of Mosul,” 12/22/16

Shafaaq News, “The arrival of military reinforcements to the north of Mosul, a prelude to the resumption of operations,” 12/22/16

Sotaliraq, "Death toll in suicide attacks in Kokjla rise to 23 dead," 12/22/16
- "Popular crowd destroyed a Daash convoy trying to open the security cordon around Tal Afar," 12/22/16

Xinhua, "At least 25 killed in 3 suicide attacks in Iraq's Mosul," 12/22/16


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 66, Dec 21, 2016


The Iraqi authorities have released contradictory statements about the current pace of the Mosul campaign. At the start of December the Iraqi forces (ISF) said they were halting their operations, but that was later denied. The reality on the ground shows that things have almost ground to a halt. U.S. Air Force General Matthew Isler told Reuters that the ISF were in an operational pause to refit and resupply before they renewed their push into Mosul. While there has been fighting across eastern Mosul each day with two car bombs destroyed and mortars killing 10 civilians and wounding 34 others on December 21, there has been little news of any real advances for the last few days.

What has been happening is preparation for a new push, while trying to secure the liberated areas. A military source said that the Golden Division was looking for weak points in the Islamic State’s defenses in Mosul to be exploited when operations start up again, while the Ghazlani camp in the south has been shelled for three days now. Finally, the Golden Division was turning over areas of east Mosul to newly arrived police that have been shifted from the south into the city. That will free up units to rejoin the fight.

Rudaw interviewed General Fazil Barwari of the Golden Division about the progress in Mosul. Barwari noted that several parts of the operation have not gone as planned. Local leaders in the city told the government that there would be a popular uprising against the Islamic State once the Iraqi forces arrived, but that didn’t happen. The ISF also expected civilians to flee conflict areas, but they didn’t making the fighting all that more difficult. Finally, the original plan was to take the city in two months. Barwari told Rudaw that there were still routes from Mosul to Syria, and that IS has received reinforcements from Syria. That contradicted statements by the Hashd who have repeatedly said they have cut IS’s supply lines to Syria. It’s obvious that the Mosul battle has been more difficult than many expected. Optimistic statements about the city being freed by the end of the year and IS defenses collapsing are slowly giving way to more realistic predictions that there are still weeks more of fighting ahead.

Finally, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 50 people from east Mosul who experienced a variety of attacks by the Islamic State as they attempted to flee the fighting. As the government forces advanced IS men went from house to house asking civilians if they would flee with them. Those that did not were labeled traitors and unbelievers and told that they would suffer as a result. IS has been targeting areas along the front and liberated ones as well with mortars and sniper fire. This has been documented by the Iraqi and international press as well. Almost every day the insurgents are firing mortars and causing civilian casualties.

SOURCE

Adel, Loaa, “Federal Police shells IS camp near Guzlani, kills dozens of terrorists,” Iraqi News, 12/21/16

Ahmed, Hevidar, “’Urban war is not easy,’ commander of Iraq’s elite Golden Division force,” Rudaw, 12/21/16

AIN, “Urgent anti-terrorism commander: starting to hand over liberated neighborhoods in Mosul to the police,” 12/21/16

Al Alam, "44 civilians killed and injured in ISIS Mortar Attack in Mosul," 12/21/16

Face Iraq, “Joint Operations: we are trying to open gapsto enter the rest of the neighborhoods on the left coast of Mosul,” 12/21/16

Al Forat, "The destruction of Daesh car bomb southeast Mosul," 12/21/16

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: ISIS Attacking Civilians in Mosul Retreat,” 12/20/16

Kalin, Stephen, “Iraqi forces in Mosul mostly in refit mode: U.S. general,” Reuters, 12/21/16


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mosul Campaign Day 65, Dec 20, 2016


There was fighting in east Mosul but no news of any advances. The Islamic State fired mortars into three neighborhoods, and launched two suicide bombers who were killed. Around 250 homes in the Bakr neighborhood have been abandoned due to the constant shelling. The Iraqi forces (ISF) were also firing artillery at south Mosul. For the second day Ghazlani was hit. The southern front has been stalled for almost a month and a half now, and this artillery fire was one of the first signs of life. Al Sumaria also reported that families in the western half of the city were afraid that IS groups were abducting young boys to force them into service. The insurgents are suffering heavy losses in the fighting, so they may be enforcing a kind of draft on the population to bring in more fighters.

The Associated Press interviewed members of the Golden Division about how the battle for Mosul was going. Soldiers said in previous battles the Islamic State fortified specific areas. That was not so in Mosul. There IS has set up small units to cover areas who use tunnels and routes through houses to attack the Iraqi forces who move through neighborhoods in columns of vehicles, and then scurry off to another position. These fire and maneuver tactics have been able to hold up the ISF. The fighting has also been costly. A medic interviewed said that on average he was seeing 18 ISF casualties per day just in his sector. It is these losses that are worrying. The Golden Division is doing almost all of the fighting in east Mosul and if it continues to suffer heavy losses it could debilitate the force. Part of the 9th Division is the only other unit in the city in combat. South Mosul is supposed to be attacked soon, but it appears to be still a work in progress.

The insurgents also launched attacks in the south and west, and more of their dirty work was discovered. 2 car bombs were destroyed in the Aub Saif area in the south, and another town was attacked. The Tal Afar airport in the west was assaulted for a second day in a row. In the Hamam al-Alil area to the south of the Mosul another mass grave was found with around ten bodies in it. Before the area fell to the Iraqi forces, the militants took hundreds of people to the area, and executed a large number of men. Many more victims are likely to be discovered.

The Qayara oil fields south of Mosul were set ablaze by the retreating insurgents. The North Oil Company has been able to put out 41 wells so far, but there were still others burning. This is causing huge clouds of toxic fumes to spread over the area for two months now causing unknown environmental and human damage. 

The number of displaced has passed the 100,000 mark. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) had 106,692 people registered so far. Each week around 10,000 people are fleeing their homes, and almost all of these are from the Mosul district. Still more are not signed up with the government or aid agencies and are moving within Mosul itself. This situation is only getting worse with only a very few returning so far.

SOURCES

Al Alam, "Iraqi Forces Discover another Mass Grave in Mosul," 12/20/16

Face Iraq, "Federal police chief announced destroying two car bombs south of Mosul and shipment of aid to Hamdaniya Hospital," 12/20/16

Al Forat, “Ninewa we are coming operaitons command: continue clearing roads and buildings of explosives,” 12/20/16

George, Susannah, “Fight for a Mosul district shows Iraqis’ slow, painful slog,” 12/19/16

International Organization for Migration, “Over 106,000 iraqis Displaced by Mosul Operations: Kuwait Donates USD 4 Million in Aid,” 12/20/16

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul, Dec. 20, 2106,” 12/20/16

Rudaw, “Iraqi and Hashd forces repel ISIS attacks west and south of Mosul,” 12/20/16

Shafaq News, "Nineveh police kill suicide bomber tried to sneak into Gogjali," 12/20/16

Al Sumaria, “’Black detachments’ worry the people of Mosul after the disappearance of boys and teenagers in the right coast,” 12/20/16

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: Flash Update – 19 December 2016,” 12/20/16