Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 155, March 22, 2017

The Iraqi forces (ISF) were still slowly but surely pushing into the Old City district of west Mosul. The Golden Division attacked the Yabsaat, Yarmouk, Rajim al-Hadid and Wai al-Ain areas, while the apartments in Yarmouk were freed. There was still fighting in Nablus and Resala, which were officially declared cleared yesterday. The Federal Police were also forced to retreat in Jadid due to Islamic State attacks. That neighborhood was freed on March 12. There were also heavy clashes in Bab al-Tob. So far the ISF have only penetrated into the perimeter of the Old City. Poor weather has limited air support. The dense layout of the sector has meant the Iraqis usually have to dismount and move street to street, house to house. IS is also putting up a stiff defense.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 153-54, March 20-21, 2017

Battle landscapes in west Mosul (Reuters)

Things are still going slow in trying to capture the Old City district in west Mosul. The Golden Division, coming form the southwest took the Resala and Nablus neighborhoods officially. Some streets were liberated as well, which is a perfect example of how things are progressing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Violence In Iraq, March 8-14, 2017

Violence has remained steady in Iraq since the Mosul campaign restarted in the middle of February. Security incidents remained at a low level across the country, with almost all the attacks going on in Ninewa for obvious reasons.

There were a total of 170 incidents from March 8-14, 2017. 104 of those were in Ninewa, followed by 31 in Baghdad, 10 in Anbar, 7 each in Salahaddin and Kirkuk, 5 in Diyala, 3 in Basra, and 1 each in Babil, Dohuk, and Sulaymaniya.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 152, March 19, 2017

Federal Police fighting in Old City in west Mosul (Reuters)

Map of progress in Old City west Mosul. Green is liberated areas. Red is contested. Tan is under Islamic State control. Blue in right hand corner is the Tigris River. (Iraqi Day)

Fighting in the Old City went back and forth. The Golden Division attacking from the west took the Nablus area. There were renewed clashes in Bab al-Tob, which was just declared officially freed for the second time yesterday. Cramped streets, poor weather, tough defenses by the Islamic State have all slowed down progress in the city. The immediate goal remains taking the Grand Mosque where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in 2014. After that is taken there will still be the majority of the Old City to be assaulted.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 151, March 18, 2017

National Security Service arrest an IS suspect in east Mosul (Telegraph)

The Iraqi forces (ISF) were back on the offensive in Mosul despite the bad weather that has slowed progress lately. The Bab al-Tob neighborhood was officially declared cleared for the second time. The first time was on March 15, but then the next day there was bombing going on. The Federal Police and Rapid Reaction Division also said they had taken the Arbiaa, Kur, and Tawafa, and attacked Bab al-Saray, all of which are in the Old City along the Tigris River. The immediate goal is to seize the Grand Mosque. Heavy rain has limited air support. The Old City is densely laid out with narrow streets, which has reduced much of the fighting to house-to-house battles. Finally, the Islamic State is putting up a sturdy defense. These have all contributed to the slow going in recent days.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 150, March 17, 2017

Aftermath of a suicide bulldozer bomb in the Old City of Mosul (Daily Mail)

The Iraqi forces (ISF) renewed their offensive in the Old City in Mosul on March 17. The Federal Police and Rapid Reaction Division were still aiming for the Ground Mosque where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in 2014. The police were able to take several main streets and markets during the day. That symbolizes who much the campaign has slowed down. The dense layout of the Old City along with tough defenses by the insurgents has slowed things down considerably, mixed in with poor weather that has limited air support.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 149, March 16, 2017

The dense layout of the Old City in west Mosul along with poor weather has severely slowed down the progress of the Iraqi forces (ISF). The Iraqis are declaring specific buildings and streets freed such as Ninewa Hospital to document their advances. The ISF were still pushing on the Great Mosque, which was where Islamic State head Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi announced the caliphate in 2014. Yesterday, the Bab al-Tob neighborhood was officially declared freed, but on March 16 the Iraqi air forces was still bombing targets in the neighborhood to try to root out Islamic State snipers. Finally, the Iraqi forces tried to push into Nablus, but the fighting was so fierce that American spotters were called in to bring in Apache helicopters for close fire missions. Heavy rains in recent days have limited air support, which has slowed progress by the ground troops. The compact layout of the Old City has also made things difficult because many of the streets are too narrow for ISF vehicles to maneuver. Finally, despite Iraqi propaganda IS is still putting up fierce opposition. Altogether that has led the ISF to begin to adjust their plans to deal with the new environment.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 148, March 15, 2017

The Iraqi forces (ISF) continued their slow advance through the Old City along the Tigris River. The Federal Police and Rapid Reaction Division finally took the Iron Bridge, making it three out of the five spans across the Tigris River that are now under government control. The bridges were knocked out by Coalition air strikes so they are largely symbolic victories.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 147, March 14, 2017

Advances in west Mosul has gone through fits and spurts. On March 14 the Federal police seized the Mosul Train Station. The Iraqi forces (ISF) were also trying to take the Grand Mosque where the Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate. The building has been in site of the ISF for the last few days, but they were repulsed after suffering heavy losses. The Iron Bridge was another target the police have targeted. The ISF were still fighting over the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City as well. A mix of rain, IS snipers, and the compact layout of the Old City have all contributed to the recent slowdown in the ISF’s progress.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 146, March 13, 2017

Rapid Reaction Division moving through the narrow streets of West Mosul (Reuters)

Fighting remained focused around the Old City section of west Mosul. Sanaa was attacked, while Naft was freed. The Federal Police and Rapid Reaction Division were trying to capture the entrance to the Iron Bridge that crosses the Tigris. Those police forces were also clearing the areas of Bab al-Tob there were taken yesterday; going house-to-house as there were still IS elements left there. Advances in Mosul have slowed down due to poor weather, but more importantly, the dense layout of the Old City area. To the west of the city two more towns were taken by the 16th Division, which just entered the fight two days ago. The Iraqi forces (ISF) have kept up a steady and even advance throughout most of the new campaign with good coordination between the police in the east and the Golden Division moving up the middle and east. This showed that the Iraqis have learned from the east Mosul battle when the Golden Division was initially sent into the city on its own due to political pressure from Baghdad, and when other units were eventually sent in there was a lack for coordination for several weeks.

Mosul Campaign Day 155, March 22, 2017

The Iraqi forces (ISF) were still slowly but surely pushing into the Old City district of west Mosul. The Golden Divis...