Friday, June 30, 2017

ISIL Fighters Around Every Corner in Old Mosul

"We are seeing the end of the fake Daesh state. The liberation of Mosul proves that."
"We will not relent, our brave forces will bring victory."
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
A large part of the mosque was blown up by ISIL last week [Reuters]
Al Jazeera: Mosul
That would be, of course, the brave forces that several years ago broke formation and scattered in fearful disarray rather than meet the oncoming Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant horde set to enter Iraq's second largest city, to advantage themselves by the hundreds of millions looted from its bank, and the abandoned military posts stuffed with American-produced-and-provided vehicles, arms and ammunition  to augment ISIL's inferior military equipment.

Those brave forces of which Mr. al-Abadi speaks so proudly, had been U.S.-trained in the most up-to-date conflict methodology and outfitted with the most advanced weaponry, yet they turned tail and ran, abandoning their posts, and the millions of Iraqi citizens they were dispatched to protect. Their terror at the advance of the Islamic State jihadis overwhelmed the instructions they were given and their professional code of ethics.

They have been re-instructed by Western coalition military trainers, where presumably some elements of courage have been restored to their shattered and demoralized vision of themselves not as brave warriors but fearfully vulnerable soldiers unable to stand their ground and provide the security their country invested them with as ostensible Iraqi Shiite equals of the Iraqi Sunni military members they had scornfully dismissed after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

It is the very same scorned and supplanted Sunni military of the former Baathist government that now lead the Islamic State terrorists whose mettle as killers had been long established and whose reputation had inspired the Shiite Iraqi military to dissolve in terror. Now, Mosul is being liberated; the Iraqi Kurds whose courage and skills as fighters challenging the dread Islamic State fighters has been proven, has been asked to remain on the sidelines while the brave Iraqi military take Mosul's interior.
A large part of the mosque was blown up by ISIL last week [Reuters]
A large part of the mosque (850-year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque) blown up by ISIL last week [Reuters]
The Mosul that will soon be liberated barely resembles the Mosul that existed before the triumphant conquest imposed upon the city by the Islamic State. Residential areas have been fire-bombed, partially by the Iraqi military and partly by the retreating Islamic State which had booby-trapped narrow alleys, public buildings and private homes to extract maximum damage as they are forced to retreat in reflection of superior numbers.

The narrow streets and corridors of the Old City of Mosul lie in ruins, the stench of dead bodies suffocatingly redolent of war with no quarter given either combatants or the hapless civilians caught in the crossfire. The densely populated area where ISIL makes its final stand sees clashes continuing despite the too-precipitate crowing of Prime Minister al-Abadi.

"There are hundreds of bodies under the rubble", commented special forces Major Dhia Thamir, declaring that along the special forces route all of the dead bodies represented ISIL fighters. As though the Iraqi special forces would take especial pains to avoid killing civilians who just happened to get in the way. Some civilians, agreed special forces Major General Sami al-Aridi, have been killed by airstrikes in the battle for the Old City. "Of course there is collateral damage, it is always this way in war". Well, of course, of course.
An ISIL flag was seen on top of the minaret of the al-Nuri mosque in the Old City in western Mosul before it was destroyed [Erik De Castro/Reuters]

Collateral damage sounds clinical, cleaner, steering clear of speaking of unfortunate civilians whose lives were forfeited by their unfortunate choice of residence. An estimated 300 ISIL fighters remain within the Old City, among approximately 50,000 non-combatant civilians trapped alongside the jihadis. Some thousand civilians abandoned Mosul's Old City on Thursday alone, according to an Iraqi intelligence officer, Col. Ali al-Kenani.

Representing families hoping to be able to escape death, they assemble in front of destroyed storefronts, seeking the shelter of shade, awaiting the arrival of flat-bed trucks to take them to the refugee camps.

Victory in Mosul was "imminent", likely to occur "in days rather than weeks", informed U.S.-led coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon. However, "the Old City still remains a difficult, dense, suffocating fight -- tight alleyways with booby traps, civilians and (ISIL) fighters around every corner."

mosul war map infographic who controls what isis isil

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