Iraqi Kurdish fighters tightened a little more each day their grip on Mosul (Iraq). Tuesday, taking the city of Bachiqa, Iraqi troops and their allies resumed gradually the control of northern Iraq, defended by a few thousand jihadists attacked on all fronts since the beginning of the offensive, dated 17 October. These attacks are supported by the United States deploying ground advisers, and lead at the head of an international coalition air strikes on the positions of the Islamic state.
This operation, launched by Baghdad, set a target to peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters, taking Bachiqa, a town twelve kilometers northeast of Mosul. The offensive is a success because according to Jabbar Yawar, an official of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, the city is “complete control” of the Peshmerga.
The official said: “Our forces are clearing mines and sweeping the city”. These operations are difficult to conduct because when they feel in danger, the jihadists are used to conducting suicide attacks and trap streets and houses with explosives. Despite this, a large number of terrorists have fled Bachiqa and are actively pursued by the Iraqi forces, which are close to the city center and the Tigris River that runs through town. The Islamic state is gradually losing its control over northern Iraq, but the battles in that region will continue as evil will not be totally eradicated. And that’s what Iraqi troops and their allies are working on every day.
By Jérémy Leduc, IEJ 1D
Source : Ouest France
While the Iraqi army tries to move forward through the most external streets of Mosul, the first civilians found in the city start to bring testimony to the horror they’ve been victims of.
There are actually two types of violence civilians have suffered. The first and main one is the physical and mental torment made by Daesh on the population living with them. Because the members of Daesh troops consider the territory as their caliphate, taking all goods as if they were theirs. Witness of that kind of situation a civilian attested: “They were coming to our houses, sometimes at around 10:00p.m. They took our car saying that it was on the caliphate’s land.” Another civilian said after having escaped his house: “We come back from the dead’s world, to the alive one.”
The second huge problem civilians have been confronted to, is the mistake Sabawi Iraqi militia made between them, and the members of Daesh. In a couple of villages in the southeast of Mosul, civilians were arrested or attacked as an act of revenge. Going in those villages, members of that militia arbitrarily arrested some of the villagers escaping their houses, charging them for being part of Daesh.
Anne Duchêne, IEJ 3E
Sunday, Iraqi elite forces entered Mosul to take back the city. This is the last big city in Iraq where the jihadists have still been holding the control. This operation seems to be more important than before since we assume that the jihadists’s chief, Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi is in the city.
Indeed, the chief of the Kurdistan Region Presidency (KRP), Fuad Hussein revealed to the daily British newspaper, The Independent that “Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi is here at Mosul, and if he is killed, this will mean the overthrow of all the system of ISIS.” Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi was not seen for 8 to 9 months. For Fuad Hussein, the jihadists’s chief is still hiding in the city.
He also told the Independent that “his surviving adherents (would) fight to the death to defend him.” For him, if Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi is killed, it will change a lot for the ISIS. The latter will have to turn all its hierarchy. It will be very complicated and destabilizing for the ISIS to find another leader during the war. Moreover, Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi represents the conquest of Mosul in 2014.
Today, the number of islamist fighters still present in the city is estimated between 3,000 and 5,000.
Mégane Coulon, IEJ3F2
When Mosul is saved, the international coalition should focus on the last entrenchment of ISIS, Raqqa in Syria.
One week ago, the Iraqi strengths of elite launched Mosul’s battle against the Islamic State’s. Around 30,000 troops comprising Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni and Shia militias, international advisers are taking part in the multi-pronged Mosul offensive. Moreover, Iraqi forces can count of the international coalition’s support, composed of sixty countries including USA, France and Canada. Every day, ISIS lose a lot of ground and dozens of villages around the Iraq’s city. The coalition starts thinking about the next step after having recovered Mosul.
Tuesday, the coalition’s key members met in Paris. They decided to aim Raqqa, in Syria, to prevent jihadists from gathering in their capital when they lose Mosul. “We must ensure that ISIS be destroyed and eradicated everywhere”, warned François Hollande in this meeting. Aware of the stakes represented by the Syrian City, USA’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said : “We will try to set up a strike force to Raqqa.”
The operation overlap with the offensive in Mosul and will take place without Russia, which intervenes militarily against the terrorist organization alongside the Syrian forces, in answer to the official invitation of President Bashar al-Assad.
Mathéo Geslan, IEJ 3F