Battle of Mosul (2016)


Iraq
Iraqi Kurdistan

Supported by:

CJTF–OIR  Iran[7]
Hezbollah[8]  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL Commanders and leaders

Iraq:
Haidar al-Abadi
Prime Minister of Iraq
Lt Gen Talib Shaghati al-Kenan
Joint Military Command, ICTS
Maj Gen Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri
ISF commander of Operations
Maj Gen Fadhil Jalil al-Barwari
ISOF commander
Maj Gen Thamer al-Husseini
Iraqi police rapid response units commander
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis[12]
de facto PMF commander

Iraqi Kurdistan:
Massoud Barzani
President of Iraqi Kurdistan

United States:
Lt Gen Stephen J Townsend
CJTF-OIR commander
Maj Gen Gary J Volesky
Commander of CJTF Land Component Command

Hezbollah:

Muhammad Kawarithmi[8]
Hezbollah commander of Iraqi operations Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Leader of ISIL
Aziz Ali [13]
Senior commander
Aymam al-Mosuli [14]
Commander of the special security forces
Abu Faruq [15]
Commander of Bashiqa
Abu Yakoub [16]
Operations official
Abu Hamza al-Ansari [17]
Senior leader
Abu Maryam [18]
Senior commander for Baghdad and Diyala Vilayet
Mahmoud Shukri al-Nuaimi [19]
aka Sheikh Faris; senior commander Units involved

Iraq:
Army

  • 1st Division[12]
  • 9th Division[12]
  • 15th Division[12]
  • 16th Division[12]

Air Force
Special Ops Forces

  • 1st Special Ops Brigade "Golden Division"
  • 2nd Special Ops Brigade

Federal Police
Popular Mobilization Forces PMF[20]

  • Badr Organization[21]
  • Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq[21]
  • Peace Companies
  • Kata'ib Hezbollah[22]
  • Saraya Ashura[21]
  • Saraya Khorasani[21]
  • Kata'ib al-Imam Ali[21]
  • Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba[21]
  • Turkmen Brigades[23]
  • Quwwat Sahl Ninawa
  • Nineveh Plain Protection Units
    • Nineveh Plain Forces[24]
  • Sinjar Resistance Units YBŞ[25]
  • Êzîdxan Women's Units YJÊ[25][26]


Iraqi Kurdistan:
Peshmerga

United States:

  • US Air Force
  • US Marine Corps[27]

Military of ISIL

  • Wilayat al-Jazeera
  • Caliphate Cubs[28]
Strength

54,000–60,000 ISF troops[29][30]
14,000 paramilitary troops[29]

40,000 Peshmerga troops[29]
Support:
Hundreds of CJTF–OIR personnel
4,000–9,000 militants
1,000 foreigners[31][32] Casualties and losses

115 killed, 255 wounded[33][34][35][36]
30 killed, 70–100 wounded[33]
1 killed[37]
Naqshibandi Army: 30 captured[38]

2,200+ killed or wounded,
249 armored vehicles destroyed, 9 UAV downed
ISIL claim 1,365–2,000 killed[39][40]
Iraqi and US claim 1,177 civilians executed by ISIL[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]
56,000 civilians displaced[49][50]

The Battle of Mosul Arabic: معركة الموصل‎‎; Central Kurdish: شەڕی مووسڵ‎ is a joint offensive by Iraqi government forces with allied militias, Iraqi Kurdistan, and international forces to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL[51][52][53] The offensive, dubbed Operation "We Are Coming, Nineveh" قادمون يا نينوى; Qadimun Ya Naynawa,[54][55] began on 16 October 2016 with forces besieging ISIL-controlled areas in the Nineveh Governorate surrounding Mosul[56][57][58] The battle for Mosul is considered key in the military intervention against ISIL, which seized the city in June 2014[59] Outnumbering ISIL forces 10 to 1, it is the largest deployment of Iraqi forces since the 2003 invasion by US and coalition forces[60]

The operation follows the Mosul offensive in 2015 and 2016 The offensive began with Iraqi troops and Peshmerga fighters engaging ISIL on three fronts outside Mosul, going village to village in the surrounding area More than 120 towns and villages were liberated from ISIL control in the first two weeks of fighting At dawn on 1 November, Iraqi Special Operations Forces entered the city on the eastern front[61] Met with fierce fighting, the Iraqi advance into the city was slowed by elaborate defenses – including road blocks, booby traps, suicide bombers and snipers – along with the presence of civilians[62]

The offensive is concurrent with the Raqqa offensive on ISIL's stronghold in Syria

Contents

  • 1 Background
    • 11 General Background
    • 12 Preparations for the battle
    • 13 Forces involved in the offensive
  • 2 Battle timeline
    • 21 October
    • 22 November
  • 3 Humanitarian issues
    • 31 ISIL abuses and abductions
    • 32 Allegations against anti-ISIL forces
    • 33 Displacements and relief efforts
  • 4 Context
    • 41 International reactions
    • 42 Media coverage and social media
    • 43 Turkish desire of involvement
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Background

Map of the Kurdish-launched Mosul offensive, as of August 2016

General Background

Main articles: Fall of Mosul and Mosul offensive 2015

Mosul is Iraq's second most populous city, that fell to a small amount of ISIL militants numbering 800 in June 2014 because of the largely Sunni population's deep distrust of the primarily Shia Iraqi government and its corrupt armed forces[31][63] It was in the Great Mosque in Mosul that ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the beginning of ISIL's self-proclaimed "caliphate" that spans Iraq and Syria[63] The original population of 25 million has fallen to approximately 15 million after two years of ISIL rule The city was once extremely diverse, with ethnic minorities including Armenians, Yazidis, Assyrian, Turkmen, and Shabak people, who suffered considerably under the virulently Sunni Arab ISIL[64] Mosul remains the last stronghold of ISIL in Iraq,[65] and the anticipated offensive to reclaim it was hyped as the "mother of all battles"[66][67][68][69]

Preparations for the battle

Main article: Mosul offensive 2016

In the weeks leading up to the ground offensive, the US-led CJTF - OIR coalition bombed ISIL targets, and the Iraqi Army made gradual advances on the city[60] Royal Air Force's Reaper drones, Typhoons and Tornados targeted "rocket launchers, ammunition stockpiles, artillery pieces and mortar positions" in the 72 hours before the ground assault began[70] Leaflets dropped on the city by the Iraqi army advised young male residents to "rise up" against ISIL when the battle began[65] To prepare defenses against the assault, ISIL operatives dug 4m2 holes around the city, which they planned to fill with burning oil to reduce visibility[60] and slow advances[30] They also built hundreds of elaborate tunnels in the villages surrounding Mosul, rigged with explosives and booby-traps, and laid improvised explosive devices IEDs and mines along the roads[71] There was considerable concern that ISIL may employ chemical weapons against soldiers and civilians[72]

According to Iraqi sources the assault towards Mosul was being waged from, Al-Khazer axis east of Mosul, Mosul Dam northern axis, Baashiqa axis eastern axis, Al-Qayyarah axis southern axis, Talul el-Baj- Al-Khadr axis southwestern axis[73]

Forces involved in the offensive

US Lt Gen Stephen J Townsend, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force, at Qayyarah Airfield West, 22 September 2016

About 3,000–5,000 ISIL fighters were estimated to be in Mosul, according to the United States Department of Defense[74] Other estimates ranged as low as 2,000 and high as 9,000 ISIL fighters[31] Mosul Eye estimated approximately 8,000–9,000 fighters loyal to ISIL, with "[h]alf of them highly trained, and the rest either teen-agers or not well trained About ten per cent of the fighters are foreign Arabs and non-Arabs The rest are Iraqis Most are from Nineveh’s townships and districts"[75]

The Iraqi-led coalition was initially estimated by CNN to have 94,000 members,[76] but this number was later revised upward to 108,500;[77] 54,000 to 60,000 Iraqi security forces ISF soldiers, 16,000 Popular Mobilization Forces PMF fighters, and 40,000 Peshmerga including approximately 200 Iranian Kurdish female fighters from PAK[78] are deployed in the battle[29][30]

Among the PMF units, the Christian Nineveh Plain Forces composed of Assyrians are among the paramilitary forces in the Iraqi coalition[79] Shia militias including several brigades of the paramilitary organization Hashd al-Shaabi, the Peace Companies, Kata'ib Hezbollah, the League of the Righteous, the Badr Organization, Saraya Ashura, Saraya Khorasani, Kata'ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Turkmen Brigades also took part[21][80] The Ezidi community of the Sinjar region contributed Sinjar Resistance Units YBŞ and Êzîdxan Women's Units YJÊ[25]

Peshmerga soldiers prepare to conduct a combined arms live-fire exercise with an Italian instructor near Erbil, on 12 October 2016

An international coalition of 60 nations, led by the United States, is supporting Iraq's war against ISIL, providing logistical and air support, intelligence and advice[81] The international coalition forces are headquartered 60 kilometres 37 mi south of Mosul at Qayyarah Airfield West or Q-West in Qayyarah, which was reclaimed from ISIL in June[82] About 560 US troops from the 101st Airborne Division were deployed to Q-West for the battle, including command and control elements, a security detachment, an airfield operations team, and logistics and communications specialists[83] The US deployed HIMARS rocket launchers and M777 howitzers, manned by the 101st's 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the Golf Company, 526th Brigade Support Battalion The French army deployed four CAESAR howitzers and 150 to 200 soldiers at Qayyarah, with 600 more French troops announced at the end of September[84] An additional 150 French soldiers are in Erbil, east of Mosul, training Peshmerga[80] The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, with a squadron of 24 Rafale M jets, was deployed from Toulon to the Syrian coast to support the operation against ISIL through airstrikes and reconnaissance missions; 12 other Rafale jets are operating out of French Air Force bases in Jordan and the UAE[85][86] 80 Australian special forces soldiers and 210 CANSOFCOM soldiers were also deployed to assist the Peshmerga In addition, the Canadian Forces 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment was also reported to be in the area, working to intercept and relay ISIL communications, while a Role 2 Canadian Army field hospital with 60 personnel has been set up to treat Kurdish casualties[87][88]

An Iraqi soldier during a course on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training at Camp Taji Coalition forces have expressed fears ISIL may use chemical weapons during the Battle of Mosul

The Ba'ath loyalists group, known to be led by Saddam Hussein's former vice president Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, issued a statement before the start of operations calling for the people of the city to make an uprising against ISIL and announced that they will fight the "terrorist organization"[89][90]

Battle timeline

October

16–17 October

A US Army M109A6 Paladin conducts a fire mission at Qayyarah Airfield West, in support of the Iraqi security forces' push toward Mosul, 17 October 2016

On 16 October, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the beginning of the assault to recapture the city of Mosul[58] Officials reported howitzers firing on ISIL targets later that day[56] The main assault began on 17 October at approximately 6 am[65] with shelling and arrival of armored vehicles to the front lines[91] The Peshmerga in the Khazir region east of Mosul started the ground assault by advancing on ISIL-held villages from three fronts, with Iraqi security forces advancing from the south[92] Iraqi troops advanced on the Bartella area east of Mosul while ISIL fighters fired mortars at Peshmerga[93] The President of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, said that Peshmerga and Iraqi fighters retook 200 square kilometers 80 square miles from ISIL on the first day of fighting[94] Iraqi officials reported that "heavy losses of life and equipment" were inflicted upon ISIL fighters in the Hamdaniya district southeast of Mosul ISIL fighters who were injured in the battle were reported to have been bused towards the group's Syrian headquarters of Raqqa for medical aid[29] The anti-ISIL coalition destroyed 52 targets during the day[95] Family members of ISIL fighters fled from Mosul to the village of Nawran due to the shelling It was also reported that some fighters had started shaving their beards and were getting rid of their Afghan uniforms[96] The group was also reported to have evacuated and shifted its headquarters from west side of Mosul to its east side[97] A bridge into Mosul known as the "Freedom Bridge" was destroyed on 17 October Peshmerga sources blamed ISIL for its destruction, while ISIL claimed it was blown up by airstrikes[98]

18 October

On 18 October, The Iraqi government declared that 20 villages near Mosul were captured from ISIL in the first 24 hours of fighting by the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces[99] On the southern front, Iraqi troops retook several villages near Qayyarah, including al-Sirt, Bajwaniya, al-Hud and al-Mashraf, and parts of the al-Hamdaniya District southeast of Mosul Iraqi Federal Police also regained control of 56 oilfields in the Qayyarah district[100] According to reports, the Peshmerga were met with little resistance on the eastern front, while Iraqi and PMF fighters coming from the south were facing tougher resistance from ISIL[101]

The coalition strategy was reported to be encircling Mosul completely before Iraqi troops advanced into the city-center[102] Early in the day on 18 October, Iraqi forces in the east came close to Qaraqosh Bakhdida, once the largest Christian town in Iraq, and fighters in the south were closing in on Hammam al-'Alil[95] Iraqi Army later stormed Qaraqosh and fought with ISIL fighters who remained holed up[103][104][105] The Iraqi and Peshmerga advance had been slowed down during the same day due to suicide bombers, roadside IEDs and oil fires In order to eliminate any ISIL presence completely from the villages on the outskirts of the city, they were carrying out street-by-street search operations[106][107] The Peshmerga later paused their advance while the Iraqi Army continued its advance[108]

Iraqi security forces transport combat equipment including M1A1 Abrams tanks and BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to tactical assembly areas with assistance from the 313th Movement Control Battalion forward element, on 18 October 2016, near Makhmur, Iraq

Pro-government fighters in the south of Mosul were battling pockets of ISIL fighters and snipers as they tried to reclaim the village of Abbasi,[109] and expected to soon take control of the village of Zawiya[110] Fighting resumed in the village of Kani Harami, which was captured by the Iraqi Army a day earlier but recaptured by ISIL on 18 October as the Army lacked reinforcements[104] The Army also retook the village of Al-Hud on the Tigris, where villagers had risen up against ISIL and killed at least 9 militants[111][112] State police also secured the Al-Mishraq sulfur plant south of Mosul[113] The al-Shura district was stated by its mayor to have been captured by the Iraqi security forces[114] Joint airstrikes by Iraqi and coalition warplanes on ISIL headquarters in Mosul destroyed 13 targets and killed 35 militants[115]

As the Iraqi Army advanced on Mosul, rebellion against ISIL broke out in the city The group's Islamic Police revolted and attacked four headquarters of the organisation The revolt was put down with 7 rebellious leaders being killed and many militants being executed A group of rebels attacked a headquarters of the group the next day, killed 2 militants and raised the Iraqi flag over the building ISIL patrols in the city were also attacked[116][117][118]

A group of Naqshabandi Army militants reportedly attacked an ISIL controlled checkpoint in the village of Al-Houd, injuring two ISIL militants before they were captured along with a few other militants who attacked a group of ISIL militants in the same village in coordination with the PMF on the day before In total, 30 Naqshabandi militants were captured[38]

19 October

Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare to load a Joint Direct Attack Munition onto an aircraft on 19 October as part of the US-led airstrikes supporting the offensive

The Iraqi army resumed fighting on 19 October, surrounding Qaraqosh with ISIL deploying snipers and car bombs[119][120] Lt Gen Qassim al-Maliki declared that Iraqi forces had captured 13 villages north and northeast of Al Quwayr, south of Mosul The Iraqi Army was also reported to be within 6 kilometres 37 mi from the outskirts of Mosul[121] The village of Kani Harami was captured after heavy fighting in the morning with the militants retreating to Abbasiyah[122] A total of 22 towns were reported to have been captured, with 12 by the Peshmerga and 10 by the ISF[123] Nofal Hammadi, governor of the Nineveh Governorate, declared that 40% of the province had been retaken from ISIL[124]

The offensive to retake the town of Bashiqa northeast of Mosul, originally scheduled for dawn, was delayed due to lack of logistical support[125] Thousands of Peshmerga were reportedly preparing to retake Bashiqa[126] The international coalition's commander Gary Voelsky also stated that a majority of ISIL leaders were fleeing Mosul and predicted foreign fighters will form the majority of militants remaining in the city[127][128]

20 October

The fighting grew more intense on 20 October[129] A large convoy of Golden Division arrived at positions retaken by the Peshmerga forces[130] They also captured Bartella ISIL fighters detonated 9 truck bombs during the fighting[131] According to Maj Gen Maan al-Saadi of the Iraqi Army, 200 ISIL fighters were killed in the fight for Bartella[129]

The Peshmerga also announced a "large-scale operation" to the north and northeast of Mosul, aiming to retake the Christian towns of Tesqopa and Bashiqa[128][132] During the day, the Peshmerga liberated 6 villages, including 4 on the Bashiqa front line and 2 on the Nawaran front In addition, they also entered another 4 villages They briefly captured the village of Tiz Khirab but were forced to withdraw[133] On the southern front, Iraqi forces resumed their push north after a brief pause[134] and recaptured six villages east of Qayyarah[133]

A US bomb disposal expert embedded with the Peshmerga was killed after the vehicle he was riding in drove over a roadside bomb[135] ISIL also set Al-Mishraq sulfur plant on fire, causing two deaths and nearly 1,000 hospitalizations from sulfur fume inhalation[136] An ISIL ambush near Bashiqa left dozens of Peshmerga dead or wounded[134] The group was also reported to be digging trenches to slow the advancement of coalition troops[137]

21 October

ISIL launched multiple attacks in Kirkuk on 21 October divert military resources Multiple explosions and gun battles in the city, mostly centered on a government compound were reported A suicide bomber killed 13 workers, including four Iranians, at a power plant in Dibis A senior Peshmerga commander said that attackers had entered by posing as IDPs[138] Iraqi government forces meanwhile reported that they had retaken 2 more villages south of Mosul and killed 15 militants[139]

22 October

On 22 October, Iraqi police declared that ISIL's attack on Kirkuk had been repelled and all attackers had been killed or had blown themselves up[140] Iraqi officials also stated that 80 people were killed in Kirkuk, primarily Kurdish security forces, and about 170 injured; 56 ISIL militants were also killed[141] A reporter of Türkmeneli TV also died in the attack,[140] while at least seven journalists were injured[142]

A large-scale offensive began to retake the Christian town of Qaraqosh which remained under ISIS control after several days of fighting[143] Iraqi troops also advanced on the town of Tel Keppe, north of Mosul[144] Shifting winds sent the gas from the ablaze Al Mishraq sulphur plant to Qayyarah Airfield West, where US and coalition forces were forced to use gas masks[140] A journalist was also killed by a sniper in the al-Shura area[140]

Mosul Eye reported that ISIL had executed detainees and teens aged 15–18 comprised the majority of ISIL fighters in Mosul The group was also reported to have planted bombs and booby traps throughout the city and was preparing for battle[145]

23–24 October

The Peshmerga claimed on 23 October that they had recaptured Bashiqa,[146][147] however it was reported on the following day that they were still trying to capture it with the help of Turkish military[148] The Peshmerga General Command also stated that Peshmerge had cordoned off 8 villages and had secured a significant stretch of the Bashiqa-Mosul highway It also stated that they were now within 9 kilometres 56 mi of the city[149]

ISIL increased its counterattacks in order to distract the pro-government advancing towards Mosul In addition to the attack on Kirkuk on 21 October, ISIL fighters struck Ar-Rutbah as well as Sinjar Yazidi provincial chief Mahma Xelil said that at least 15 ISIL fighters were killed and two Peshmerga wounded in a two-hour battle in Sinjar ISIL claimed its forces destroyed two Peshmerga vehicles, killing all on board[150] Nearly 800 ISIL fighters had been killed while 78 villages were reported to have been retaken from the group as of 24 October[151] The attack on Kirkuk was also brought to an end by 24 October, with 74 militants being killed and others including the leader of the attackers being arrested[152]

25 October

US Army and Iraqi military leaders discuss battle plans at Qayyarah Airfield West, 25 October

Iraqi Special Operations Forces, advancing on Mosul from the east of the city, were reported to be within 2 kilometres 12 mi of the city and were pausing to wait for reinforcements before proceeding[153] Turkish military supporting the Peshmerga destroyed several ISIL targets in the Bashiqa region of Northern Iraq[154][155] ISIL also used the burning oil trenches to impede the visibility of the Iraqi Air Force and international coalition air force[156]

26 October

A French Dassault Rafale is refueled from a KC-10 Extender on October 26 near Iraq The French Air Force has 24 Rafale-Ms supporting the coalition forces

Iraqi forces were met with heavy resistance from ISIL as they attempted to clear the militants from villages in Shora, south of Mosul[157] Hundreds of ISIL suicide bombers were reported to have been sent from Syria to defend Mosul[158]

Meanwhile, Peshmerga forces captured the village of Derk, 12 kilometres 75 mi northeast of Mosul, where they discovered a large ISIL tunnel containing a large cache of weapons[159] Stephen Townsend, the commander of US forces in Iraq, stated that coalition forces had delivered more than 2,100 aerial bombs, artillery and mortar shells, rockets and missiles since the offensive to retake Mosul started The Iraqi government stated that that 57 Iraqi soldiers had been killed and about 250 wounded while 20 to 30 Peshmerga fighters are thought to have been killed[160]

27 October

Captain Fahd al-Laithi of Iraq's National Information Agency stated that 13 militants were killed in a coalition airstrike that targeted an IS concentration in the Hamam al-Alil district while Iraqi forces had managed to retake 2 villages to the south of Mosul[161] The head of the United States Central Command, Gen Joseph Votel stated that 800-900 militants had been killed in the battle[160]

28 October

US military officials estimated on 28 October that were 3,000 to 5,000 ISIL fighters left defending Mosul while 1,500 to 2,000 militants were stationed outside the city[162] Abdulrahman al Wagga, a member of Nineveh provincial council, stated that Iraqi forces had retaken the town of Al-Shura, to the south of Mosul and had evacuated 5,000 to 6,000 civilians from there He further stated that the area was now being cleared of homemade bombs and booby traps while security forces had almost surrounded Hammam al-Alil[163] He also stated Iraqi security forces might storm Hammam al-Alil in the next few hours but that it would depend on the situation on the ground, as civilians were still present amd ISIL militants were using a "scorched earth" policy by destroying houses, buildings and bridges to slow them down[42]

Peshmerga and Iraqi forces also captured Fadiliya, which lies just 4 km away from Mosul[164] UN meanwhile stated that ISIL had taken tens of thousands of civilians to use as human shields in Mosul, including at least 5,000 families from around Al-Shura and 2,210 families from the Nimrud area of Hamdaniya Those who refused to go were executed[163][165]

29 October

The PMF stated on 29 October they had launched an offensive towards the west of Mosul with an aim to capture villages west of Mosul and reach the town of Tal Afar in order to prevent ISIL fighters from retreating into neighboring Syria or any reinforcement for their defense of Mosul They have been tasked with recapturing around 14,000 sq km of territory from the group[166][167][168] They also stated that they would not enter Mosul[169] Meanwhile, Iraqi Army and PMF captured 15 villages from ISIL[168]

Mosul Eye confirmed that civilians from outside Mosul had been abducted and forced into the city by ISIL which was confiscating homes from people for their own use A new escape route from Mosul had been set up by Syrian Kurds, who were charging $3,000 per person to smuggle people out of the city to Turkey The blog also reported that all bridges into the city were booby-trapped with IEDs[170]

30 October

The Peshmerga stated on 30 October that they had captured six more villages to north and east of Mosul, and had seized control of several major roads and landmarks[171] It also stated that it had captured 500 square kilometers of territory since the operation began[172] PMF meanwhile stated that they had captured eight more villages to the southwest of Mosul[173] SOHR stated that atleast 480 Syrian fighters including 300 child soldiers known as "Cubs of the Caliphate" brought to Iraq by ISIL had been killed since the offensive began[174]

31 October

A US soldier of the 101st Airborne Division and a member of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces discuss assessment of Iraqi security force checkpoints on 31 October at Qayyarah Airfield West

On 31 October, a major Iraqi operation was launched on Bazwaya, to the east of Mosul The ISOF came under heavy fire from ISIL but managed to capture the town along with several nearby villages[175] After capturing Bazwaya, ISOF were less than 1 mile 16 km from Mosul[176]

Several Iraqi military officials stated that ISOF will begin its push into Mosul shortly[177][178][179] The US-led coalition meanwhile aimed to target ISIL militants from the air if they attempted to flee the city The US Department of Defense stated that hundreds of militants were believed to have already escaped[180] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi meanwhile called on ISIL fighters in Mosul to surrender[176]

November

1 November

The operation to enter the city began at dawn Brig Gen Haider Fadhil, commander of the Iraqi special forces ISOF, said the forces began their assault in Mosul's eastern Karama district, unleashing artillery, tank and machine-gun fire on ISIL positions as they prepared the larger push into the city[181] Airstrikes by the US-led coalition were targeting ISIL positions, and ISIL had started tire fires to reduce visibility[61]

Rudaw reported heavy fighting in the morning in the Gogjali district, at the gate of the entrance to eastern Mosul, where ISIL militants used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices VBIEDs and sniper fire to try to halt the advance[182]

The elite Iraqi "Golden Division" entered Mosul's city limits that afternoon, engaging in street fights with ISIL militants[182] Shortly after the Iraqi army announced that they had taken over Mosul's state television building on the city's left bank[183][184]

Between 4 and 5 pm, sources reported that the Gogjali district was now under Iraqi control, and that Iraqi Army's 9th Division and the 3rd Brigade entered the neighborhood of Judaydat al-Mufti on the left bank of Mosul Near midnight, the Iraqi war media office reported that airstrikes had killed 116 militants inside the city of Mosul: 29 killed and 25 wounded in Ghabat; 10 killed and 15 wounded at ISIL headquarters, 10 killed at a weapons depot, and 67 militants "of several nationalities" killed at a hotel pool[182] The Iraqi side suffered no casualties, a government spokesman said[185]

ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to be still hiding in Mosul, said Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani Hussein said his government had information from multiple sources that "Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole [ISIL] system"[186]

On the northern front, the Iraqi 16th Division liberated the villages of Abas Hussein and Raha Al-Aquat[182]

Dozens of PMF militia fighters were killed or injured in an ISIL ambush outside Mosul, Rudaw reported At least 15 members were killed and 30 others wounded near Tal Afar, a village still held by ISIL southeast of the city, when they entered abandoned villages booby trapped with explosives[187]

Mosul Eye reported that Iraqi forces were 5 kilometres 31 mi into the city, and that large numbers of ISIL militants were in the west of the city, likely in retreat after suffering "great losses" in the fighting ISIL also released dozens of detainees who had been held for two years[188][189]

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced plans to take control of the liberated areas of Mosul, by employing the national police while reopening police stations and Civil Defense centers[190] Brigadier Saad Maan, the spokesperson of Iraq’s Interior Ministry told reporters that the plan of the joint command in Nineveh is going faster than the army had planned[191]

2 November

Rudaw reported that Iraqi special forces continued fighting remaining ISIL in the eastern section of Gogjali quarter, despite the area being declared completely under Iraqi control on Tuesday[192]

Iraqi Brigadier General Haider Fadhil said his troops were forced to hold their positions in eastern Mosul as poor weather conditions were limiting visibility for drones and aircraft, and preventing them from advancing[193] Troops carrying out house-to-house clearances killed eight ISIL militants – six were killed inside a tunnel found in Gogjali and two were shot while attempting to advance on the army[194]

The PMF announced its militia had liberated 115 square kilometers that day after fierce fighting with ISIL, including the villages of Umm al Izam, Khubairat, Um Izzam, Tal Saif al Athari, Ayn al Jahsh and Rahmaniyah, and that they had surrounded the ISIL-held villages of Kukh, Hadaja, and Abu Fashka The PMF also claimed its forces had reached a highway to the southwest of Mosul and had cut the first supply line to Mosul from Raqqa[192]

The Iraqi Army launched an offensive in the morning to recapture Hamam al-Alil, which lies about 10 kilometres 62 mi south of Mosul, and reported they were engaged in fierce fighting[195] The Iraqi Federal Police liberated the villages of al-Qahira, southwest of Hamam al-Alil, and Mankar, north of the Al-Shura district[192]

3 November

ISIL's media wing Al-Furqan released a 32-minute long audio file purportedly from the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he says he's "confident of victory" in Mosul, and urged ISIL members not to retreat, saying, "holding your ground in honor is a thousand times better than retreating in disgrace" The recording is reportedly the first from al-Baghdadi since late 2015, and mentions Turkey's military build-up on the Iraq-Turkey border that began on 1 November, indicating the audio was recorded very recently[196]

Iraq's 9th Armored Division entered the neighborhood of al-Intisar in eastern Mosul, according to Brig Gen Tahsin Ibrahim[197]

US and Iraqi authorities described the offensive as "ahead of schedule," although it is still expected to be a long process Iraq's Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Saad Maan told Rudaw that the priority of protecting civilian lives and infrastructure would possibly slow their advance into the city[198]

Mosul Eye reported that the Al-Samah neighborhood was completely liberated[199] He also reported that airstrikes had taken out Mosul's Fifth Bridge, located over the Tigris,[200] the second bridge destroyed since the Freedom Bridge ar on 17 October

4 November

The Iraqi army recaptured six districts in Mosul, including the eastern district of al-Zahra, which Iraqi forces said was now 90 percent under its control The forces faced fierce resistance in the district of Karama, south of al-Zahra, and were forced to partially withdraw[201]

It was reported that ISIL was continuing its execution of deserters, killing 50 on Monday, as well as 180 former Iraqi government workers on Wednesday ISIL was reportedly abducting Mosuli boys as young as 9 to use as child soldiers[202]

5 November

Fighting continued in the morning, with the Associated Press reporting that the clashes were most intense in the neighborhood of al-Bakr Iraqi Major General Sami al-Aridi said, "Daesh is in the city center and we must be very careful as our forces advance"[203]

Iraqi troops had control of the neighborhoods of Kirkukli and al-Zahra in the east and Al-Tahrir in the north-east To the south, the districts of Qudes and Karama reportedly remained under ISIL control[204] Intense fighting resumed in the Gogjali district, the first district cleared, after ISIL militants emerged via tunnels during the night[205]

CNN's Arwa Damon, embedded with the Iraqi special forces in Mosul, reported being trapped for 28 hours near the neighborhoods of Kirkukli and Khadraa after an ambush on their military convoy forced them to flee the vehicles and run into buildings for cover, hiding among civilians Despite multiple injuries to the soldiers, backup forces were unable to assist as they were also under attack[206]

ISIL claimed it killed 15 Iraqi troops and destroyed six military vehicles[204] Meanwhile satellite images released by private US firm Stratfor revealed significant defenses installed by ISIL, including rubble blocking main routes to the city center, rows of concrete barricades, and earthen berms The images also showed evidence that ISIL had leveled buildings and cleared the terrain around a former military base on the west bank and around the Mosul International Airport[203]

The Iraqi army continued its assault on three fronts to Hamam al-Alil, 30 kilometres 19 mi south of Mosul, the last major town outside Mosul still held by ISIL[204] In the early afternoon, Iraqi forces entered the town center and raised the Iraqi flag over a government building, but heavy clashes continued ISIL fighters were reportedly traveling by motorcycles to avoid airstrikes At 10 pm, Rudaw reported that Hamam al-Alil had been liberated, and Iraqi flags were raised[205]

Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs reportedly was trying to confirm the death of Irish ISIL sympathizer Terence Kelly, also known as Abu Usama al-Irelandi ISIL claimed he had died in a suicide mission: "The martyrdom-seeking brother Abu Usama al-Irelandi – may Allah accept him – set off with and detonated his explosives-laden vehicle on another gathering of apostates, in Aghazil al-Kabir village, south of Tal Afar, killing and wounding dozens of them, and destroying several of their vehicles"[207]

6 November

On the southwest front, Iraqi forces reported they are 4 kilometres 25 mi from Mosul International Airport after taking control of Hamam al-Alil the previous day[208] Iraqi forces stormed the Al-Sada district, their first entrance into northern Mosul[209]

Blogger Mosul Eye reported panic and despair inside the city from citizens fearing imminent death from either the Iraqi forces or ISIL, which had begun installing bombs around residential buildings He wrote, "ISIL is trapping the houses around us with bombs We live on ticking bombs around us! If airstrikes and gunfire don’t kill us, those car bombs will soon do the job!"[210]

The Iraq War Media Office announced that Abu Hamza al-Ansari, a key ISIL leader from Algeria, was killed in southern Mosul during a fight with the Iraqi Army's 15th Division[17]

A Kurdish official told Rudaw that in eastern Mosul, civilians have staged uprisings against ISIL, killing three: "The situation in Mosul is bad Residents have risen against ISIS at the Nabi Younis and Bakir neighborhoods, killing three militants and forcing 111 families associated with them to flee to Syria," Saed Mamuzini said[17]

7 November

Rudaw reported that Peshmerga fighters launched a massive offensive in the morning to take the town of Bashiqa, still held by ISIL Peshmerga have surrounded the town for two weeks[18] There were believed to be 100 to 200 ISIL militants left in Bashiqa, the last major ISIL-held town in area controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government[211] Commander Kaka Hama said the Peshmerga descended from three fronts, and that coalition airstrikes played a large role in the assault In the early afternoon, Rudaw reported that Bashiqa was liberated and that the Peshmerga were in full control[18]

On the southern front, Agence France-Presse reported that Hamam al-Alil, which had been reported to be under Iraqi control on 5 November, had been fully liberated Monday by a combination of Iraqi, federal police and elite interior ministry forces[212]

In eastern Mosul, the ISOF surrounded the neighborhoods of Karama, Malayyin al-Salasa, Shquq Khazraa, Zahra, Karkuli, Aden, and Zahabi The Iraqi federal police and the Nineveh Operations Command liberated the villages of Qabir al-Abid and Marij near Hamam al-Alil The Iraqi Army's 9th armored division and the 3rd brigade liberated the village of Manarat Shabak east of the city, and made an incursion into the eastern Mosul neighborhoods of Hay Intisar, Judaydah al-Mufti, and Hay Shaima[18]

Al Sumaria reported that ISIL beheaded seven of its own militants for "delinquency" in a public square in central Mosul[213]

Japanese national Kōsuke Tsuneoka, who had been detained by Kurdish authorities since 19 October, was handed over to Japanese authorities and deported from Iraq via Erbil Tsuneoka had claimed to be in Iraq as a freelance journalist According to the Kurdistan Region Security Council KRSC, Tsuneoka, who also goes by the name Shamil K Tsuneoka, was suspected of having ties to ISIL "An investigation by our Counter-Terrorism Department CTD found he was in contact with ISIL members through his smartphone," the KRSC announced He had previously been detained in 2015[214][215]

8 November

The Peshmerga killed 12 ISIL fighters trying to flee the recently liberated town of Bashiqa ISIL members returning to captured towns via tunnels and staging ambushes remains a high concern, Brig Gen Musa Gardi told Rudaw[216]

Further to the West, PMF forces were reported to have advanced to a distance of 25 km towards strategically important Tal Afar military air base, south of the city[217] CJTF–OIR reported an airstrike engaging an ISIL headquarters building near Tal Afar for that day[218]

9 November

Iraqi Special Forces gained control of the majority of the Intisar district in southern Mosul ISIL reportedly deployed armed child soldiers, known as the "Caliphate Cubs"[219]

Meanwhile, residents in the liberated neighborhoods of the city are suffering with an acute shortage of food Aid agencies have been unable to reach them because the neighborhoods have not been cleared of boobytraps, and snipers continue to be a risk In Hamam al-Alil, Iraqi forces are working to destroy or deactivate landmines before people can return[220]

10 November

In eastern Mosul city, Iraqi army "Golden Division" forces controlling Zahra district and at least half of Aden district where clashes were ongoing as well as elements of the 9th division controlling Intisar district were reported to regroup and clear neighborhoods once occupied by ISIL, as well as screening residents fleeing from Mosul in search of ISIL militants among them[221]

On the southern front, elements of the 9th division and loyalist tribal forces advanced towards the remains of ancient Nimrud[222]

Media officials with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday the killing of the new ISIS War Official, Khaled al-Mitwiti[223] Media officials with the Ministry of Defense also stated that "Troops of the army's 35th and 37th brigades liberated the village of Abbas Rajab and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings," pointing out that, "The progress of the forces is ongoing" [224]

11 November

On the southern front, Iraqi forces were preparing to advance up the western bank of the Tigris River toward Mosul International Airport[225] In eastern Mosul, Iraqi forces launched a new offensive to regain control of the neighborhood of Karkukli, following two days of removing explosives and dealing with individual ISIL fighters in liberated neighborhoods[226] Local media outlets reported that Iraqi anti-terror units also managed to enter into Qadesiyya neighborhood[227]

Iraqi military sources told CNN that ISIL senior commander Mahmoud Shukri al-Nuaimi, known as "Sheikh Faris," was killed in a coalition airstrike in western Mosul on Tuesday[19]

12 November

The Iraqi army fought in heavy clashes with ISIL militants in the al-Salam neighborhood in eastern Mosul[228] Iraq announced it controls al-Arbajiya district and is clearing the adjacent district, al-Qadisiya al-Thaniya[229] ISIL fighters, using drones for surveillance, were using suicide bombers and snipers against the army Iraqi forces have reached Palestine neighborhood in southeast Mosul and were engaged in battle with ISIL in the Quds neighborhood as well[228]

The PMF announced that further to the West, Sinjar Resistance Units YBŞ as part of the PMF started the operation to capture villages around Sinjar from ISIL[230]

The Islamic State imposed a curfew in the city of Mosul, after the killing of a number of its senior leaders by a coalition air strike, in the eastern part of the city, Alsumaria News reported on Saturday[231]

13 November

On the southern front, Iraqi government forces say that elements of the 9th division "after inflicting loss of life and equipment on the so-called Islamic State" took control of the ancient Assyrian ruins of Nimrud as well as the adjacent modern town[232]

Meanwhile, Major General Abdel Amir Yarallah announced the liberation of the Karkojli neighborhood in eastern Mosul[233] Brig Gen Maan al Saadi, the commander of the 2nd Group of Iraqi Special Operations Forces, was quoted assessing that "the enemy is collapsing and losing control, and we are now taking only two days to seize a neighborhood where we planned to be fighting for four days"[234] There are also reports of ISIS female forces called "biters" are collectively escaping the city of Mosul after leaderships ordered them to ready up for suicide bombings, Alsumaria News reported, adding that the group executed one of those women as retribution for the groups desertion[235]

14 November

In a press release, it was revealed that militias had liberated the villages of Ar-Rakrak and Um Hijara, west of Mosul, also causing ISIS fighters “severe human and material losses” It said the forces had moved 5 kilometers towards Nazarah, another village[236] A statement by the air force said that several airstrikes on Monday targeted ISIS locations west of Mosul, destroying a number of havens as well as a fighters-loaded pickup truck at Atasa district[237]

In retaliation, The Islamic State launched three attacks using rockets filled with mustard gas on Qayyarah, leaving seven casualties including a 5-year-old child who suffered severe burns and was taken to Erbil for treatment[238] The group also claimed to be behind a series of suicide attacks that killed at least 14 people south and west of Baghdad[239]

Hossam Eddin al-Abbar, a member of the municipal council of Nineveh, said in statements that 30 ISIS fighters, including senior leaders, were killed as forces liberated the village of al-Abbas 40 kilometers west of Mosul The militants carried “Japanese and Chinese nationalities,” and were besieged by the forces before they were killed, said al-Abbar

Abbar added that federal police forces and the army’s 15th division have moved to a position 3 kilometers away from the Mosul airport at the center of the city, having liberated the village of Bo Youssef[240]

15 November

Forty-nine Islamic State militants were killed via United States air force strikes on al-Bakr neighborhood in Mosul[241]

The Iraqi media outlet stated, "Forces from the Golden Division started, before noon today, to storm into areas north and east of Mosul, including the neighborhoods of al-Akha’a, al-Bakr and al-Hadba’a"

"The [security] forces started to storm into these areas after the preliminary bombardment to warn the residents of these areas," Sky Press explained "Iraqi forces also managed to detonate two booby-trapped vehicles and kill three suicide bombers in al-Hadba’a area, while clashes are still ongoing in the mentioned areas"[242]

Badr Organization of al-Hashd al-Shaabi announced on Tuesday it had liberated the villages of Medhali and Tel Om Mahyour and advanced 10 kilometers in the western axis of the offensive

"The city of Mahlabiyah was besieged and a 3-km long tunnel was also found," the organization added "The security forces also managed to detonate a booby-trapped vehicle that was parked on a road"[243]

16 November

ISIL launched mortar attacks on the liberated neighborhood of al Zahraa, killing two civilians and injuring at least seven[244]

Humanitarian issues

Up to 15 million civilians live in the city, sparking serious concerns of a massive humanitarian crisis[245] Lise Grande, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, stated, "In a worst-case scenario, we're literally looking at the single largest humanitarian operation in the world in 2016"[245] Save the Children warned that massive civilian bloodshed was likely unless safe routes were allowed to let civilians flee[246] The US government has accused ISIL of using Mosul civilians as human shields

ISIL abuses and abductions

Fears that civilians could be used as human shields by ISIL were realized as it was confirmed the group had been abducting civilians from villages for this purpose, which received widespread condemnation from human rights groups and the United Nations Security Council[247][248]

ISIL has reportedly threatened to execute civilians trying to flee Snipers, landmines and trenches are preventing people from attempting to escape[60] Iraqi officials, via radio broadcasts and leaflets dropped over the city, warned civilians to stay in their homes Leaflets advised residents of various precautions to take including instructions to tape over their windows to protect from flying glass and to disconnect gas pipes[65][249]

Shortly after the battle began, news surfaced of ISIL kidnapping and executing civilians in Mosul Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis stated that ISIL was using civilians as human shields and holding people against their will in the city[250]

The International Business Times reported, "Boys from Mosul, some as young as 12, have been recruited by the Islamic State in Mosul, the militant group's largest remaining stronghold in Iraq As the offensive by US-backed forces, led by a vanguard of Iraqi counter-terror troops, enters its fourth week, reports from refugees leaving Mosul have confirmed children trained to behead prisoners and make suicide bombs have been corralled into joining the ISIS defence"[251]

An Iraqi intelligence source stated on 21 October that ISIL executed 284 men and boys abducted from Mosul for the purpose of using them as human shields The civilians were shot and put in a mass grave A United Nations official said the UN is "gravely worried" about the fate of 200 families from Samalia and 350 families from Najafia who were abducted Monday by ISIL, who could be used as human shields[252]

UN sources stated that four people died from inhaling toxic fumes after ISIL set fire to the Al-Mishraq Chemical Factory on 23 October[253]

On 26 October, CNN reported that ISIL has been carrying out "retribution killings" of civilians as revenge for others welcoming Iraqi and Peshmerga troops in liberated villages[158]

According to Ravina Shamdasani, of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ISIL executed 232 people near Mosul in late October for defying its orders and had taken tens of thousands of people to use as human shields against advancing Iraqi forces She claimed that ISIL "executed 42 civilians in Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul Also on Wednesday ISIS executed 190 former Iraqi Security Forces for refusing to join them, in the Al Ghazlani base near Mosul"[42]

Iraqi forces evacuated more than 1,000 civilians from the front lines surrounding Mosul on 26 October, moving them to the Khazir region[254] Civilians on the southern front had reported that their relatives had been taken by retreating ISIL fighters to be used as human shields[157]

On 31 October, a member of the Nineveh Provincial Council stated that that ISIL executed 300 civilians and former security members in the village of Moshairefa, north of Mosul They had been imprisoned and accused of collaborating with the government[255]

Mosul Eye reported on 3 November that mortar strikes killed five civilians in Mosul[256]

Two roadside bombs struck a convoy of civilians fleeing Hawija on 4 November as the families were being taken to the town of Al-Alam At least 18 people were killed, a police officer said[257]

On 7 November, the Iraqi War Media Office announced that the bodies of estimated 300 people were found in a mass grave at the agriculture college in Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul Many had been decapitated Iraqi forces made the discovery after noticing the smell Abdul Rahman al-Waggaa, a member of the Nineveh provincial council, said ISIL had used the college as "a killing field"[258][259] The Iraqi War Media Office said there would be an investigation into the murders: "Inside the building of the Faculty of Agriculture there is a new crime: the presence of 100 beheaded bodies of citizens killed by terrorists, and a special team will be sent to inspect this heinous crime," the office said in a statement[18]

The United Nations reported on 8 November that ISIL had abducted 295 former Iraqi Security Forces members and 1,500 families from Hamam al-Alil, forcing them to retreat with the militants into Mosul[260]

On 9 November, it was reported that ISIL killed at least 20 civilians after accusing them of being spies Five crucified bodies were displayed at a traffic intersection, while others were left hanging from traffic signals and electricity poles[261] Civilians who had fled the city in the past few days reported that ISIL was using suicide bombs to attack residents in addition to Iraqi forces[262]

BBC News reported on 11 November that ISIL executed 40 civilians in Mosul after accusing them of being spies One man was killed for defying the ban on mobile phone use They were shot and their bodies displayed around the city[263]

The UN Office of Human Rights provided new details that ISIL is using chemical weapons and has stockpiled "large quantities" of ammonia and sulfur "We can only speculate how they intend to use this," UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said "We are simply raising the alarm that this is happening, that this is being stockpiled"[264]

Allegations against anti-ISIL forces

The presence of several militias with histories of human rights abuses was criticized; Human Rights Watch called for Shia militias from the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF to not enter Mosul, following allegations of severe abuse of Sunni Muslims in anti-ISIL operations in Fallujah, Tikrit and Amirli[265][266][267] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi later stated that only the Iraqi army and the Iraqi national police will enter the city itself[58][268]

On 21 October, International Business Times reported that "disturbing and graphic footage posted to social media allegedly shows Iraqi security forces torturing and interrogating young children for information about ISIL as they attempt to retake Mosul from the Islamic State terror group"[269]

On 11 November, video emerged of the Iraqi army apparently torturing and murdering an Iraqi child The boy, identified as Muhammad Ali Al-Hadidi, was dragged through the desert and shot dead before a tank was driven over him The men in the video were identified as Shia and yelled sectarian slurs at the child, a Sunni The video caused extreme outrage on social media, with Arabic speakers using the hashtag #CrushedByATank Arabic: #السحق_بالدبابة‎‎ The soldiers were wearing the insignia of the Iraqi Special Forces[270]

More than 12,000 were expelled by Kurdish forces to live in unsafe conditions in Kirkuk[271]

Displacements and relief efforts

Italian Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, arrived in Erbil on 17 October to meet with Kurdish officials[272] The UN has set up five refugee camps capable of taking up to 45,000 people and has the capability of taking in up to 120,000 if more sites are available for camps[273] Dozens of families from Mosul arrived in the al-Hawl camp in Rojava, Northern Syria, bringing the number of Iraqis in al-Hawl to more than 6,000 On 18 October, more than 2,000 refugees from Mosul were attempting to cross into Syria, according to the People's Defense Units YPG[104] The UN is attempting to communicate with citizens inside Mosul that they should not flee to the west of the city toward Syria, an area still under ISIL control, but to the camps in the east[274]

Australia announced it would donate USD$75 million in humanitarian aid to the operation, and New Zealand pledged NZ$1 million USD$718,600[275]

The World Health Organization WHO said it had trained 90 Iraqi medics in "mass casualty management" as part of its preparations for the Mosul operation, with a special focus on responding to chemical attacks, AP reported ISIL has previously used chemical weapons in attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces, and there are fears that it might do so again inside Mosul, where more than a million civilians live[276]

On 3 November, Kurdish and UN aid workers said more than 40,000 refugees had fled to Kurdistan in the first few weeks of fighting Ten new refugee camps have been built in the Dohuk Governorate, Erbil Governorate and in the town of Khazir[277] According the United Nations and UNICEF, 22,000 people had been displaced, including more than 9,000 children[278]

On 6 November, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR stated that 33,996 people had been displaced from the Mosul District 63 percent of families are missing civil documentation and 21 percent of families are headed by a female The previous 48 hours saw a 53 percent increase in displacement[50] The following day, WHO announced it had established 82 "rapid response teams" to prepare for possible concerns among civilians fleeing Mosul, including health epidemics such as cholera, and exposure to chemicals and smoke from burning oil wells[279] A particular concern is potential disease outbreaks among young children who have not been immunized since ISIL took over the city in June 2014[280]

More than 900 Iraqi civilians have fled to the Al-Hawl refugee camp located in the Rojava region of northeastern Syria, while another 700 civilians run away to the Turkish-Iraqi borders[281]

Context

International reactions

 France Jean-Marc Ayrault, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on 27 October, "We know that we will face significant challenges and it is our responsibility to face them together, alongside Iraq, while fully respecting its independence and sovereignty"[282]  Russia President Vladimir Putin on 17 October said: "We hope that our American partners, and in this case our French partners as well, will act selectively and do everything to minimise — and even better, to rule out — civilian casualties"[283]  Turkey Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has without success insisted on a Turkish role in the battle for Mosul see Turkish involvement above On 26 October, Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said "Fighting ISIL is necessary, but the process after ISIL must be planned carefully"[284]  United States President Barack Obama said on 18 October, "Mosul will be a difficult fight and there will be advances and setbacks I am confident, just as ISIL been defeated in communities across Iraq, ISIL will be defeated in Mosul as well, and that will be another step toward their ultimate destruction" Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on 16 October said in a statement,[285] "This is a decisive moment in the campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat"[286]

Media coverage and social media

Several media outlets including Al Jazeera and Channel 4 live streamed the first day's battle on Facebook, a first in war coverage[287][288][289] Additional live video feeds were available on YouTube and the streaming app Periscope Iraqi and Kurdish officials are also joining in on social media using the hashtag #FreeMosul[290] Brendan Gauthier, assistant editor of Salon, noted that given ISIL's slick campaigns on social media, "It's only appropriate then that the Iraqi military’s effort to reclaim Mosul from the PR machine turned extremist group be live-streamed"[291]

On 17 October, several Iraqi media outlets established the National Media Alliance to support journalists reporting on the battle The groups include both government-run and private media, including Al Iraqiya and Al Sumaria The alliance provides technical and journalistic services, including a joint operations newsroom It was formed to counter ISIL propaganda and foster cooperation among the various media groups in order to reduce chaos and improve safety Journalist Walid al-Tai told Al-Monitor, "One of the reasons behind the establishment of the alliance is to avoid any chaotic media coverage of the battle as every media and military institution is sending its correspondents to battlefronts This leads to conflict in the coverage of the fighting and a greater number of casualties among journalists"[292]

Journalist Mustafa Habib reported that Iraqi citizens are coordinating efforts on Facebook and Twitter to counter ISIL propaganda, such as fake photos and videos, that may be used to intimidate locals in Mosul A communications department of a Shia militia also announced it would be contributing to a social media campaign, and that 500 Iraqi journalists were embedded with the militias surrounding Mosul to report updates[293]

On 27 October 2016, The New Yorker's Robin Wright interviewed the anonymous self-described historian Mosul Eye, a purported Mosuli who has blogged from the city about life in Mosul under ISIL despite death threats from the group Responding to Wright's questions, Mosul Eye estimated the size and make-up of ISIL's force in Mosul, hopes for the future "gain back power over the city" with help of "an international trusteeship to protect Mosul", and the level of support for ISIS inside Mosul "There is no support for ISIL in Mosul They are left only with weapons that they will use to kill themselves once the liberating forces make the decision to raid the city"[75]

Turkish desire of involvement

The involvement of Turkey in the operation has considerably strained its relations with Iraq[6] Turkey has 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers in Iraq,[294] including 500 Turkish soldiers deployed to a base near Bashiqa, where they trained 1,500 Iraqi Sunni volunteers, mainly Turkmens, and Arabs to recapture Mosul from ISIL[295][296] Turkey's participation is against the wishes of the Iraqi government, which has said the Turks are violating Iraq's sovereignty Turkey has refused to withdraw its forces[6] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkish parliament on 1 October, "We will play a role in the Mosul liberation operation and no one can prevent us from participating,"[297] and said their presence was to ensure that Mosul did not fall to Kurdish or Shia control and become a threat to Turkey[298][299] Turkey's presence was criticized by Kurds in northern Iraq,[300] and thousands of protestors demonstrated at the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad on 18 October, demanding Turkish forces withdraw from Iraq[301] The United States has reportedly attempted to persuade Iraq to cooperate with Turkey on the Mosul offensive[302] Al-Abadi declined the offer of Turkish assistance, saying, "I know that the Turks want to participate We tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle and the Iraqis will liberate Mosul and the rest of the territories"[303] However, on 23 October, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced Turkish troops had fired on ISIL positions near Mosul after requests for assistance from the Peshmerga[6]

The situation between Turkey and Iraq escalated on 1 November, the day Iraqi forces entered Mosul Turkey announced it was sending tanks and artillery from Ankara to Silopi near the Iraqi border Turkey's Minister of Defense Fikri Işık said the deployment was a move to "prepare for "important developments" in the region and be ready for any possible scenario" and stated that "further action can be taken if Turkey's red lines are crossed" warning Shi'ite militias and PKK not to "terrorize" and take hold of Iraqi Turkmen-majority regions in the area[304][305][306] Prime Minister Al-Abadi warned Turkey not to "invade" Iraq, predicting war if they did Al-Abadi, addressing journalists in Baghdad, said, "We warn Turkey if they want to enter Iraq, they will end up becoming fragmented We do not want to fight Turkey We do not want a confrontation with Turkey God forbid, even if we engage in war with them, the Turks will pay a heavy price They will be damaged Yes, we too will be damaged, but whenever a country fights a neighboring country, there will be no winner, both will end up losing"[307]

On 7 November, Iraq rejected Turkey’s proposal to continue running the Bashiqa military camp, no matter if it were formally transferred under the auspices of the coalition forces, and suggested that Turkey hand over control of the camp to Iraq’s central government[308]

See also

  • American-led intervention in Iraq 2014–present
  • Battle of Fallujah 2016
  • Nineveh Plains offensive
  • Second Battle of Tikrit
  • Iraq portal
  • Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant portal
  • Terrorism portal

References

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  3. ^ "Australia to have role in battle for Mosul" Sky News Australia 17 October 2016 Retrieved 17 October 2016 
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  260. ^ "Islamic State abducts over 200 near Mosul, retreats with thousands: UN" Reuters 8 November 2016 Retrieved 8 November 2016 
  261. ^ "Crucifixions and vice patrols show Islamic State maintains Mosul grip" Reuters 9 November 2016 Retrieved 11 November 2016 
  262. ^ "Escaping Islamic State clutches in Mosul, civilians are targeted and trapped" Reuters 9 November 2016 Retrieved 11 November 2016 
  263. ^ "Mosul battle: IS hangs bodies of 40 civilians from poles in Iraqi city, UN says" BBC News 11 November 2016 Retrieved 11 November 2016 
  264. ^ "UN reveals fresh evidence of ISIS using chemical weapons in Iraq" Associated Press 11 November 2016 Retrieved 13 November 2016 
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  299. ^ "Turkey's Push to Join Battle for Mosul Inflames Tension With Iraq" New York Times 23 October 2016 
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  301. ^ "آلاف العراقيين يتظاهرون للمطالبة بخروج القوات التركية Thousands of Iraqis Demonstrate to Demand the Withdrawal of Turkish Troops" قناة الحرة Al Hurra 18 October 2016 Retrieved 18 October 2016 
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  304. ^ "Milli Savunma Bakanı Fikri Işık sınırda National Defence Minister Fikri Işık on the border" Al Jazeera Türk 2 November 2016 Retrieved 4 November 2016 
  305. ^ "Kırmızı çizgilerimiz aşılırsa If our red lines are crossed" Al Jazeera Türk 2 November 2016 Retrieved 5 November 2016 
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  308. ^ "Baghdad proposes Ankara handover of Bashiqa camp to Iraq" Hurriyet Daily News 12 November 2016 

External links

  • Interactive Iraq map with current Mosul situation
  • ISIS Map
  • CNN report – 28 hours: Leading the Mosul attack, under fire then trapped

Coordinates: 35°48′01″N 43°17′23″E / 358003°N 432897°E / 358003; 432897



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