Iraqi forces have made further progress in the battle against Islamic State (IS) militants, this time coming in the form of the complete liberation of the al-Thawra neighbourhood in west-central Mosul.
The battle for al-Thawra produced incremental in gains as Iraqi forces managed to liberate half of the city last week and finishing the job now. As one Federal Police sniper states “Many of them were killed by the Federal Police snipers regiment and we are in control of the situation”.
Despite the calm and confidence of the soldiers, the defeat of IS militants in this neighbourhood and further battles will not be easy. As Iraqi forces continue to push IS militants into a more concentrated location, the militants are fighting back fiercely and the group’s leadership sending battalion of fighters of foreign nationalities. Desperate and aware that there is no way out, these militants fight to the death in an attempt to halt the advancing forces.
The next stage of this liberation will be securing the neighborhood of al-Zangil to bypass the Old City and encircle IS militants. Both Iraqi forces and IS militants are using the abandoned homes of citizens and street corners as stations of attack to launch fire at each other. Typically, after Iraqi forces liberate a neighbourhood and move deeper into IS territory what is left behind is reminiscent of an earthquake due to the “booby trapped vehicles that IS is still capable of maneuvering with, to target Iraqi forces”.