Thursday, August 10, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 29-30 Aug 8-9 2017


The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were still concerned about violence in west Mosul. The Old City district was closed off and a curfew imposed on August 8 after reports of Islamic State fighters appearing from tunnels and basements in the area. According to the Federal Police insurgents were still a threat in the district, while a military spokesman told Reuters that the Old City was a military zone and off limits to civilians. On August 9, the police discovered an IS judge in a basement killing him in a gunfight. An IED led to the death a civilian in the west, and wounded another in the east. Combat has ended in the city, but there are still attacks by the militants. These are sporadic, and mostly occur in the west. There are also hundreds if not thousands of unexploded ordinance laying around that continue to cause casualties as well.  

Civil Defense units continued to remove rubble and bodies from west Mosul. Mohamed Abdul Sattar al-Hamadani of the Civil Defense estimated that there were around 3,000 corpses in the west, especially in the Old City. He noted that 839 bodies had been pulled out in just the last three days. Another Civil Defense member was quoted in Al Ghad Press that 1700 dead had been taken out of the Old City and surrounding neighborhoods overall. This is the gruesome side of the rebuilding. The Civil Defense units are being assisted by the security forces to remove the debris and get hundreds of requests by residents to find their relatives who were killed in the fighting. Their work will go on for weeks.

The United Nations commented on the differences between the two sides of Mosul. U.N. representative to Iraq Lise Grande remarked that the east was recovering quickly. Almost all the residents in the east have returned home. There are only about 20,000 still displaced from there. Businesses are open, and life is returning. That compared drastically to the west where large sections were still destroyed, and most people were not back. That gap is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. The east escaped the heavy fighting, while many parts of the west were levelled. The continued security incidents in the west are also scaring many people from making the trip back.

Preparations were still underway for the Tal Afar operation. The head of the Tal Afar council Mohammed Abdel Kader said there more than 1,000 IS in the district, 600 of which were foreign fighters. There were also 400 families in Tal Afar, which he was afraid would be used as human shields. Kurdish President Massoud Barzani accused all the Sunni Turkmen in Tal Afar of being IS supporters. The United Nations were making plans for the displaced coming out of the district. Finally, the Ninewa Council put up no objections to the Hashd taking part in the operation as long as they were under the command of the armed forces. Prime Minister Haidar Abadi has let it be known that both the Hashd and tribal Hashd would be involved. They will probably remain on the perimeter like the Mosul battle. After the town is freed however, they will likely move in as the pro-Iran Hashd have wanted to take the town for months for a number of reasons. First, they believe they are the protectors of the Shiite Turkmen that reside there. Second, many prominent IS leaders have come from Tal Afar. Third, it is a traditional way station in the flow of foreign fighters coming from Syria. These groups probably want to incorporate Tal Afar into the security zone they are creating in western Ninewa. That has included expelling civilians, which could happen in Tal Afar. There might be revenge killings and abuses by the Hashd and ISF as well as happened in Mosul. Tal Afar has to be attacked first. Whenever it starts it will not be a long fight as there are not many IS fighters left.

SOURCES

Baghdad Post, “Preparations to liberate Tal Afar’ have begun: Commander,” 8/8/17

Elmanzalawy, Elwy, "Civilian killed by IED from IS war remnants in Mosul's Old city," Iraqi News, 8/917

Al Ghad Press, “Civil Defense: The removal of 1700 bodies from West Mosul,” 8/9/17

Iraq Newspaper, “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter in Mosul: Curfew until further notice on the right bank,” 8/9/17

Jalabi, Raya, “Islamic State still a threat as Mosul residents return to city in ruins,” Reuters, 8/9/17

Kurdistan 24, “UN prepares evacuation of civilians in Tal Afar as campaign against IS underway,” 8/8/17

Al Maalomah, “Tal Afar Council: More than 1000 Daash are in Tal Afar, including 600 of different nationalities,” 8/8/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Barzani says Turkmens of Tal Afar loyal to Islamic State,” Iraqi News, 8/9/17
- “Three thousand corpses remain under rubbles in Mosul’s Old City,” Iraqi News, 8/9/17

Renaud, G.H., “Mosul’s Old City under curfew due to presence of IS,” Kurdistan 24, 8/8/17

Rudaw, “Senior UN official describes Mosul as tale of two cities,” 8/9/17
- “UN: IDPs continue to arrive at camps, fewer go home due to destruction,” 8/8/17

Shafaaq News, “The imposition of a movement ban in old Mosul after sudden emergence of armed group supporters,” 8/8/17

Sherwani, Leyla, “Nineveh Council Sanctions Shi’ite Militias’ Participation in Tal Afar Operation,” Bas News, 8/9/17

Wataniq, “Federal police: the killing of Daash judge in old Mosul,” 8/9/17

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