Iraqi troops defeated the defenses of the Islamic state in a suburb of Mosul, in the east, taking first battle for the insurgent stronghold in the city limits.
The fighting occurred after two weeks of progress of Iraqi forces supported by the United States who cleared the surrounding areas of insurgents, at the beginning of the largest military operation in Iraq since the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 . commanders have said the battle for the city, the last major bastion of radical militants in Iraq could take months
Troops of the Service against terrorism in the Iraqi army (CTS) advanced on Gogjali, an industrial area on the eastern outskirts. The Force Commander of the CTS to the east of the city, Gen. Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, told state television that his forces had reached the edge of Karama district within the city.
A Reuters correspondent in the village of Bazwaia saw feathers of smoke rising from a built-up area a few kilometers away, a commander said it was the result of clashes underway in Karama. A source of Kurdish peshmerga intelligence said he received a report saying that seven militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) were killed in the district of Aden, adjacent Karama, and two of their vehicles were destroyed.
Iraqi state television and said there were also clashes in the city between fighters of the Islamic State and residents puff up against the group. The Kurdish intelligence source said the “resistance elements” had opened fire on the Islamic State Police section in Intisaar district, south of Karama, and armed fighters had spread in streets apparently fearing revolt.
Reuters could not independently verify the report. The government and its American allies are hoping that an uprising inside the city will help loosen the clasp of the fighters who seized him in 2014 and proclaimed a “caliphate” to rule over all Muslims.
The fighting in built city that still has 1.5 million people will be more complex than the recent decision Muslims and Sunni villages and towns outside the city, mostly emptied of their inhabitants. Mosul is far greater than any other city of the Islamic State held, and the UN has warned against the worst case scenario of a million displaced people suddenly requiring the largest humanitarian operation in the world.
“CAPITULATION OR DIE”
Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, speaking at the military airbase Qayyara south of Mosul, said that Iraqi forces were trying to close all escape routes for the thousands of Islamic fighters in Mosul. “God willing, we will cut off the serpent’s head,” said Abadi, wearing military uniforms, the state television. “They have no way out, they die or surrender.”
Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters began an offensive against the Sunni group on 17 October with air and ground support of a coalition led by the United States. “They make deliberate progress, they are on their schedule,” said British General Rupert Jones, deputy commander for the strategy and the support of the anti-Islamic State coalition led by the United States.
The resumption of Mosul will mark the effective defeat of the militants in the Iraqi half the territory they seized two years ago. By themselves, some 50,000 Iraqi soldiers, police and Kurdish peshmerga, with air and ground support of the coalition led by the United States. Thousands of Shiites Shiite fighters backed by Iran have also joined the campaign in the west of the city there two days.
Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr organization, the biggest Shiite militias, has expressed hope that Mosul would not come down in a prolonged and devastating conflict as the four-year battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo, where Shiite militias also struggle. “We are afraid that Mosul is another Aleppo, but hopefully it will not happen,” he said in Zarqa, south of Mosul.
TACTICS OF FIRED EARTH
The militants of the Islamic state fought the offensive with suicide cars, snipers and mortars. The Islamic state said Monday that it has led a suicide operation against a joint convoy of the army and Shiite militias south of Mosul. He gave no figure for casualties.
Activists have brought thousands of displaced civilians from villages to Mosul, using them as “human shields” to cover their retreat, reported UN officials and villagers.
They also burnt oil to create smoke screens, stifling the region in smoke. “The earth tactics scorched used by members of the ISIL in retirement have an immediate impact on the health of civilians and likely long-term consequences for the environment and health,” said the Office for the Coordination of Affairs UN humanitarian.
The warring parties have not given any figures for casualties among their own ranks or civilians. Both say they have killed hundreds of their opponents.