Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 120, Feb 13, 2017


There has been two weeks of pause in between offensive operations in Mosul. In those days the Iraqi Forces (ISF) have continued to report their readiness and the collapse of the Islamic State. The Golden Division’s General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said that his units were ready to attack west Mosul. At the same time he claimed IS had fallen apart because it has lost most of its leaders and were low on supplies. Similar statements are made almost everyday by ISF commanders.


The Iraqi forces actually made some offensives moves on February 13. The Federal Police were clearing the territory south of Mosul along the Tigris River, and took a village while doing so. This was probably in preparation for the assault on west Mosul to make sure the lines of advance are cleared of IEDs and other IS barriers. The Hashd also freed two villages in the west. At the start of February the Hashd announced the 6th phase of their operations, but despite the hype it only lasted a few days, but did cut some IS supply lines to Syria. Since then those units have been holding their ground against IS attacks.

On February 12 the insurgents launched three large attacks in the Tal Afar district to reportedly break open routes to Syria. This even involved tanks, rarely seen in Iraq. The next day four car bombs were destroyed in the district, and an Algerian journalist was wounded by IS sniper fire. The militants are constantly probing the Hashd lines in the west. They are always turned back however due to the wide open terrain, which allows the quick detection of these thrusts and their eventually destruction.

IS has started attacks to the south of Mosul as well. Islamic State fighters set upon the towns of Albu Saif and Hamam al-Alil. These were probably aimed at disrupting the ISF staging there for the upcoming campaign against west Mosul.

East Mosul now suffers more daily attacks then any other area of Iraq. 2 suicide bombers hit a market killing 12 and wounding 33. Mortars and rockets landed on six neighborhoods leaving 6 dead and 25 injured. Drones hit at least two areas resulting in 4 fatalities and 7 wounded. The Golden Division’s General Saadi tried to play down these incidents saying they were having little effect. It is true that they are not stopping life from returning to the east, but they are forcing people out of the city and causing a growing number of casualties.

There are now more people returning to Mosul then leaving, but there are continued difficulties. The United Nations had 791 people leaving east Mosul for two displacement camps from February 8-9, while 1,442 went back at the same time. On February 13, the Golden Division blocked people from entering the city coming from the Bartella area for security reasons, likely because of reports of IS infiltrators. A few people are escaping IS held west Mosul as well. They are often shot at by IS to try to stop them. People returning are finding that most basic services are unavailable. There is no electricity so people have to rely upon generators. The main water system was destroyed in late January 2017 so water is being trucked in. Aid groups are also distributing kerosene and dry foods, but that is only to some areas. There are markets open, but again, they are not accessible to all and shortages are causing high inflation. Looting has also gone on and some homes have been burned. At the same time, 240 families at two camps, roughly 1,400 people have refused to leave because they said that their villages have been completely destroyed and there was nothing to go back to. There are others that are frustrated that they can’t leave yet because their towns have either not been cleared of explosives or they are too close to the frontlines. The United Nations is still concerned about arbitrary arrests of people entering the camps by the security forces. The ISF has also evicted people from areas because they are accused of being IS sympathizers, while others are not allowed out of camps for the same reasons. Many displaced lack their official documents, which means they cannot get aid from the various government agencies.

Rudaw talked with Vice President Osama Nujafi. He told the paper that the people of Mosul welcomed the ISF for liberating them. The problems now involve the lack of services, restoring order and IS sleeper cells within the city. He also claimed there have been abuses by the security forces, but that have not been systematic. In the future after the insurgents were expelled he wants Ninewa turned into a federal region, something he and his brother, ex-Ninewa Governor Atheeel Nujafi have talked about for quite some time.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Federal Police repulses IS attack south of Mosul, 13 militants killed," Iraqi News, 2/13/17
- "IS shells 5 schools near Mosul, kills and wounds 28 students and teachers," Iraqi News, 2/13/17

Buratha News, "Recent developments in the field during Ninewa We Are Coming operations until 14:55 Monday 12 02 2017," 2/13/17

Iraq Oil Report, "Inside Mosul: Feb. 12, 2017," 2/12/17

New Sabah, “Anti-Terrorism Forces reveal a major breakdown in the ranks of Daesh in East Mosul,” 2/13/17

Rudaw, “Sunnis more divided than others, Maliki has no chance of becoming PM again,” 2/13/17

Shafaaq News, "Algerian journalist wounded by a sniper near Mosul," 2/13/17
- “Iraqi forces begin operations on the Tigris River southeast of Mosul,” 2/13/17
-"Killing a woman and her child and injuring her daughter by a Daesh missile targeting their home northeast Mosul," 2/13/17
- “Source: Counter-terrorism forces prevent entry of people to Mosul coming from Kurdistan Region,” 2/13/17
- "Urgent..Daesh launches more than 10 drone attacks on eastern area of Mosul," 2/13/17

Sotaliraq, "12 civilians were killed in a double suicide attack east Mosul," 2/13/17

Al Sumaria, "Killing and wounding 11 civilians in bombing by Daesh drone in East Mosul," 2/13/17

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 13 February 2017,” 2/13/17
- “Mosul Weekly Protection Update, 4-10 February 2017,” 2/10/17


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