The battle to defeat ISIS militants continues in west Mosul as Rapid Response Forces working to recapture the entirety of Zanjili neighbourhood.
ISIS militants control less than 5% of the entirety of Mosul. Every day sees a new victory for Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) as more gains are made in this besieged area. The latest gains come in the form of the liberation of 50% of the Zanjili neighbourhood and the release of hundreds of families from the clutches of ISIS militants.
The ISF have invested their efforts in ensuring the safe passage of citizens to Iraqi Government territory via the creation of secure corridors. These corridors are, at times, compromised and attacked by ISIS militants who seek to cause as much destruction as possible for security forces and citizens alike.
Commenting on a recent attack on civilians by ISIS militants during their way through one of these corridors, one Army Lieutenant says, “ISIS militants opened fire at displaced families who were used as human shields by the terrorist group. Our military personnel try as much as possible to preserve the lives of the citizens as you know, to save the man before the land, this is our priority”.
Cases of militants executing civilians caught fleeing and opening fire on those that they could not catch have become a common trope of ISIS attacks. The militants are desperate to retain the people still in the city so that they can be used as human shields against airstrikes. In addition to summary executions, they have set up preventive measures across the Old City such as traps and alarm systems.
Despite the best attempts of the militants, however, civilians continue to flee ISIS-held areas of Mosul in large numbers. Although government agencies reported that 10,000 civilians were fleeing the city every day last week, this number has decreased to 4,000. This comes amidst an estimated 180,000 people still under ISIS control in the Old City, and the neighbourhoods of al-Shafaa, Bab Sinjar and part of Zanjali – the last remaining pockets of ISIS territory in Mosul.