The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reached the Tigris River yesterday, and now are pushing south towards the last areas of the city held by the Islamic State. Depending upon the source there are either 5 or 7 neighborhoods left under Islamic State control. The Army’s 9th Division and 16th Divisions, the Golden Division, and the Rapid Reaction Division all pushed into the Shifa neighborhood, which the ISF claimed it freed back in March. There was also fighting in Hawi Kanisa, which has been declared cleared of insurgents twice before, and in the Old City. The army warned that taking the Old City the largest section left could take longer than excepted. The deputy head of the army’s 9th Brigade hoped that would be two weeks. Earlier the ISF claimed they could finish operations before the start of Ramadan which is the fourth week of May. That doesn't seem possible. The ISF also built a bridge across the Tigris at the Hawi Kanisa neighborhood. That will be used to shift forces from the east to west and allow civilians to escape. There’s no timeline when offensive operations will restart to take the remaining districts, but it probably won’t be long.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
A boy shows victory sign next to a captured IS armored vehicle in Najar neighborhood northwest Mosul, probably for use as a car bomb (Rudaw)
Roughly 4 neighborhoods remain under Islamic State control in Mosul (white area) (Ninewa Media Cell)
The liberation of all of Mosul is at hand. The Najar area along the Tigris River was the latest to fall to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). There was fighting going on in Rifai as well. Colonel Patrick Work, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 82 Airborne Division, which is advising the Iraqi army in the battle warned that as the last sections of the city were reached the fighting would reach a crescendo. The ISF were building a bridge across the Tigris to connect the east and west to allow people to flee the conflict. Another span was already put up in the northern section of the city for the same purpose. There are only four neighborhoods left in west Mosul under Islamic State control. Iraqi generals and politicians are still talking about freeing the city before Ramadan, which is only a few days away. That is unlikely to happen, but the final date is still close at hand.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Latest map of west Mosul shows that the Iraqi forces are clearing up neighborhoods along Tigris River (Ninewa Media Cell)
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are taking the last neighborhoods of west Mosul. On May 20, Tamuz 17 was declared fully cleared by the Federal Police. The ISF said it freed the neighborhood twice before. Similarly Iqtisadin was liberated for the third time. Rabia was a new area taken from the insurgents as well. The next day there was continued fighting in Najar and Bab al-Sinjar was attacked by the Golden Division. The security forces and Ninewa officials agree there are only a few parts of west Mosul left under Islamic State control, but they disagree about which ones. The Golden Division and Federal Police told the press only four areas were left. They named the Old City, Shifa, and Siha, but had different neighborhoods for the fourth either Bab al-Sinjar or Zinjali. A member of the Ninewa security committee had the figure at 7 neighborhoods, but didn’t name them. Whatever the exact number is there are only a few left, and the battle for the city is near its end.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
I was quoted in “Foreign Advisers Are Turning Kurdish Soldiers Into Professionals” by Paul Iddon for War Is Boring. The Baghdad Post reprinted the Independent article on the Mosul Battle which I was interviewed for, and Al Mada, Al Ahed, Tabnak and Mihan all had an edited version of the same piece. I was also mentioned by John Moll in "Irak oglosil, ze bitwa o Mosul wkrotce dobiegnie konca" in the Polish Zmiany na Ziemi, and in "Trump revealed sensitive info to Russians; How US troops returned to Somalia; US Army's 'digital leash'; NATO military leaders' agenda; and just a bit more" by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston for Defense One. I was cited in "Bataille de Mossoul: Les Forces Irakienes Se Positionnent Pour L'Offensive Finale" in France Soir.
There was another record low number of security incidents in Iraq the first week of May 2017. Casualties on the other hand were about average for the year.
There were just 105 incidents in Iraq from May 1-7, 2017. That was the lowest recorded total for a full week since Musings On Iraq began following security in 2013. By province there were 50 incidents in Ninewa, 22 in Baghdad, 8 in Anbar, 7 in Diyala, 6 in Salahaddin, 5 in Kirkuk, 3 in Babil and Basra each, and 1 in Dohuk. The dip in attacks was due to a drop in incidents in Ninewa. As the battle for the city is winding down there have been fewer attacks reported.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued to push east and south towards the Tigris River and the Old City district respectively. The Rawsahn neighborhood was freed by the Golden Division, while the northern section of Tamuz 17 was brought under control. The problem with the latter is that the ISF claimed to have liberated all of Tamuz 17 twice before. The Iraqis are on the verge of taking Mosul, yet still exaggerate their gains. The victory narrative pushed by Baghdad since 2014 seems to require positive news be reported everyday both real and imagined.
Friday, May 19, 2017
The Iraqi forces are pushing down north towards the Old City (grey section), which will be the last part of Mosul taken from the Islamic State (Ninewa Media Cell)
The Golden Division announced that it attacked the Najar region along the Tigris River in west Mosul. It claimed it had reached that back on May 2 before the northern offensive had even begun, and then again on May 15. Too often the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) get ahead of themselves and state that they have reached or cleared an area before even being there, and this was another example.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were closing in on the last neighborhoods held by the Islamic State in Mosul. The July 17, Iqtisadin, and Rifai areas were all liberated during the day. The July 17 was said to have been freed on May 13, Iqtisadin on May 14, and Rifai on May 15. There was fighting on going in Siha, Najar, Zinjali, Bab al-Tob, Mekawi and Bab al-Jadid. The militants only hold roughly 10% of the city. The ISF routinely claim it has taken areas that are still contested or sometimes before they even arrive. The battle for the city is nearly over, and these places will eventually fall. The Iraqis can’t help themselves however from overstating their progress. That is an unfortunate result of the victory narrative the government has pushed since 2014.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were fighting over the areas just north of the Old City district in west Mosul. The Federal Police claimed they held 80% of Tamuz 17 and Iqtisadin. The former was declared freed on May 13, and the latter on May 14. The Iraqis often call areas cleared before they are. At the same time, the Islamic State has constantly re-infiltrated places after they have left.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Ravages of the fighting in northwest Mosul (Reuters)
More progress was made in west Mosul. The Ureibi and Rifai neighborhoods were freed by the Golden Division, Najar was attacked, and there was still fighting in the Tamuz 17 area. The Golden Division was reportedly in Najar by May 2, but may not have been near it, while Tamuz 17 was declared liberated on May 13. The Iraqi Forces (ISF) often get ahead of themselves in their announcements claiming that places are cleared when they are not. At the same time, the Islamic State has often re-infiltrated areas after they withdraw. The territory under IS control is rapidly shrinking, and there are only a few neighborhoods left until all of Mosul is freed.
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