Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 178, Apr 12, 2017


The Golden Division remains the most active unit in west Mosul. They were still fighting in Abar and Tank in the center of the front. The police restarted their assault upon the Old City and received reinforcements from the Interior Ministry. The attack on the Old City stalled several weeks ago leading to a change in strategy with the Golden Division pushing up the middle to try to surround the district, while the police held down the Islamic State. The Golden Division have not joined the fight in the Old City yet so it is unclear whether that operation has really renewed or not.

U.S. commander of ground forces against the Islamic State General Joseph Martin noted that there the Iraqis are making progress against the Islamic State. Movement is slow and unsteady, but the Iraqi forces (ISF) are making headway in Mosul. The general stated that there was no change in air support from the Coalition since the Jadida incident where over 200 civilians were probably killed by an airstrike.

The Associated Press went to Wadi Hajar in west Mosul that was freed at the start of March. Much of the neighborhood was destroyed. A resident blamed the Islamic State for taking up positions there attracting air strikes and artillery. Another man claimed two airstrikes hit a house killing 43 people in February. Despite it being liberated a month ago there is little aid coming in. There were a few trucks bringing in supplies but that was it. That meant there were still food shortages going on just like when IS was in control. The government has highlighted shops, schools and public offices re-opening in Mosul, but many sections of the city are bereft of any serious help, and what is going on is due to the determination of locals rather than aid groups or the authorities.

Crime is on going in Mosul. Yesterday a tire shop in west Mosul was robbed by men in military uniforms. April 12 an activist and a Federal Police officer reported that people were looting in areas that the insurgents recently withdrew from along the frontlines. The police have been arresting people in recent days.

The Nujafis, Vice President Osama and ex-Ninewa governor Atheel, were still trying to make a comeback in Ninewa. The vice president stated that the Ninewa Guards would assume security for Mosul after it was freed. That seems highly unlikely. The Guards originally helped seize some neighborhoods in the northeast and were then policing them, but rivals of the Nujafis became jealous and had the security forces expel the Guards and bring up the arrest warrant that is out for Atheel Nujafi. The city is already being secured by a mishmash of competing forces. The ISF should have that sole role rather than the Ninewa Guards or anyone else.

The National talked with teachers from Mosul. They were forced to work when IS controlled the city, and had to use textbooks that used military imagery and terms in the lessons and to teach about Islamic scholars favored by the militants. Few kids attended schools during that period, and when IS started charging fees to attend class enrollment went down even more.

The wave of displacement from the Mosul battle continues to fluctuate. On April 11 around 7,000 displaced (IDPs) reached the Hamam al-Alil screening center. That was up from 5,000 per day the week before. Around 282,000 people have left west Mosul so far, but the real number is much higher as many people never registered. The vast majority of people coming out of Mosul said they were fleeing the fighting. A new camp opened at Hamam al-Alil on April 12 and an extension is being built to that already since the other camps are either at capacity or overflowing south of Mosul. People are going back to their homes as well, but only about 20% of the IDPs since the Mosul campaign started in October have done so so far. There were many people who stayed within east Mosul during the battle there that have returned however that were never registered and thus not part of the official figures.

SOURCES

Anadolu Agency, “Shops looted in ‘liberated areas’ in W. Mosul: Activist,” 4/12/17

Chernov, Mstyslav and Dana, Felipe, “Street turned to rubble shows cost of fight for Iraq’s Mosul,” Associated Press, 4/12/17

Coles, Isabel, “Packed Iraq morgue reveals toll of Mosul conflict,” Reuters, 4/12/17

Iraq News Network, “Nujaifi: Nineveh guards will take over the security file in Mosul after the liberation completely,” 4/12/17

Laessing, Ulf, “U.S. General Sees Progress by Iraqi Forces in Mosul Despite Complicated Battle,” Reuters, 4/12/17

Mostafa, Nehal, "Army kills 17 IS members, storm two districts, western Mosul," Iraqi News, 4/12/17
- “Al-Raad combat force arrives in Mosul as operations resume,” Iraqi News, 4/12/17

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 12 April 2017,” 4/12/17
- “Mosul Weekly Protection Update, 1-7 April, 2017,” 4/7/17

Westcott, Tom, “Life in Mosul under ISIL: an education system in ruins,” The National, 4/12/17


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