Iraq is showing the world it’s ready to take Mosul back from ISIS. The recent build up of Iraqi special forces and military troops preparing for the operation has shown it’s ready to fight back against the terrorist organisation.
This echoes events in Afghanistan recently where Afghan special forces battled victoriously against the Taliban.
ISIS entered and took over Mosul in 2014. Since then its residents have been living a terrible life under strict sharia law. Women are forced to completely cover up and there are regular executions of people who ISIS suspect of opposing them. Men have to grow beards. Nobody can smoke or use phones.
Well hopefully not for long. There are believed to be around 3-5000 ISIS fighters still in Mosul. We can expect lots of them to run away when the fighting comes to their door step. Reports say that foreign fighters for their cause are finding it harder to escape across the border.
ISIS Defence Tactics
How much of a fight they will put up is unknown. ISIS have placed VBIED (vehicle based improvised explosive devices) around the outskirts of the city. They’re using suicide bombers and hidden bombs as their main tactic against the Iraqi forces.
They are apparently using civilians as human shields to prevent large-scale bombings against their defence. Also ISIS are placing civilian families in buildings and areas that are likely to be bombed by coalition forces.
Around 30 km away from Mosul lies Qaraqosh. The former Christian region was taken by ISIS in 2014 but Iraqi forces have taken back the area as they push towards Mosul.
One million civilians are still trapped in the city and there are fears of a humanitarian crisis. Islamic State are refusing to let some leave. Most probably to use them as an extra defence.
Further Progress by Iraqi Special Forces
Iraqi special forces have also taken the town of Bartella from the militants. This now puts Mosul in reach of the artillery that can help smash IS to pieces and rid this world of them.
Islamic State did put up somewhat of a fight here, using car bombs and direct and indirect fire. They couldn’t hold out.
Overall the plan seems to be working to defeat ISIS in the area. Things have moved faster than expected. But the Iraqi special forces are still expecting a long, hard battle to actually take Mosul back in to their control.