Friday, 20 October, 2017

Mosul Civilians in 'Grave Danger' As ISIS Resists Iraqi Forces

Bessie Robbins | 29 May, 2017, 04:44

USA -backed Iraqi forces launched a broad attack on the final districts held by the Islamic State (IS) militant group in west Mosul, military officials say.

"Almost all children in this ward are from the embattled city of Mosul". It also makes it much more hard for US airstrikes to pinpoint with great accuracy any of these suspected ISIS positions who are hiding among the residents of the in the civilan population here.

On Friday, it announced it had captured the Sinjar military base, cutting the road between two cities that remain under Islamic State control west of Mosul, Tal Afar and Baaj, and getting closer to the Syrian border.

On Saturday, however, US-backed Iraqi forces were able to take control of key territory as they try to surround IS from three different directions.

The IS hold on Mosul has shrunk to just a handful of neighborhoods in and around the Old City district where narrow streets and a dense civilian population is expected to complicate the fight there.

Old City siege draws out Mosul fight and endangers trapped civilians as Iraqi forces inch toward victory against IS. Boko Haram, an ISIS-affiliate in Nigeria, is notorious for attacking civilian targets with female suicide bombers, many of whom are suspected of being coerced into service.

Iraqi forces on the roof of a house on the front line in the old city of western Mosul.

The commander of the Diyala Battalion of Iraq's Special Operations Forces, Maj Kinani hunched over the screen of his smartphone in the gloom of an abandoned home in the city's Saha district, watching the progress of yellow dots - his men - against the dark blue dots of the enemy. They were similarly unaware that Is had placed explosives at the site, the report said.

The government wants to avoid civilian casualties, who have been used by the extremist group as human shields, and to pave the way for security forces to free the rest of the western side of Mosul, the statement said.

Army, police and elite counterterrorism units began the assault on the edges of western Mosul's Old City before dawn, backed by USA -led coalition airstrikes and artillery.

Mosul's wide-scale military operation was launched in October and its eastern half was declared liberated in January.

On Friday, the government dropped leaflets urging civilians to flee.

The Joint Operations Command on May 27 said security forces are attacking "what remains of the unliberated areas" on the west bank of the Tigris River in the city, the last significant IS stronghold in Iraq.

"West Mosul is arguably the most complex and unsafe combat urban environment that any force has seen in decades", he said. The Iraqi government said more than 742,000 people have left Mosul and surrounding areas since the offensive began.

Iranian media outlets reported that Nasiri was killed on the first night of the holy month of Ramadan this weekend, and buried on Saturday in the city of Karaj, near Iran's capital city Tehran.

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