Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continue the siege on western Mosul with gains being made in the July 17 district by the Iraqi 9th brigade. As it stands, 40% of the district has been liberated by the Joint Forces Command.
Operations by the ninth armoured division to liberate the entire neighbourhood continue despite attempts by the terrorist group to halt the progress through car bombs, mortars, and sniper fire. Despite the resistance, the push to liberate the entire district, which is located north-west of Mosul, have been unrelenting. Operations are ongoing without pause and with the participation of all military units. They have already succeeded in breaking the defences of ISIS in the neighbourhood, in doing so killing swaths of militants.
As one official says, “today we managed to kill a number of snipers and were able to go deeply into the front edge of this neighbourhood”. Another says, “our divisions were able to break the siege of ISIS and inflict some losses”.
When the ISF and ISIS are compared in terms of number of troops, weaponry, military capability and strategic positioning, it is clear the ISF have an overwhelming advantage which has translated into consistent victories. The militants are being steadily pushed back.
Militants have one crucial leverage which they are taking full advantage of, and is one of the key reasons why they have managed to keep the ISF cautious of more forceful attacks: Mosul is densely populated, with a large civilian population held hostage by militants and tight streets preventing armoured vehicles from manoeuvring. Even before operations began, officials were expecting house-to-house fighting and so far this has been the case.
This advantage is however slowly being eroded as thousands of civilians escape via their own means or are liberated by Iraqi Force from west Mosul, highlighting the militants losing their grip. Desertions from the ranks of the militants have also picked up. There have been many instances of militants dressing up as women to escape or allowing civilians to escape so long as they also take their families with them.
With ISIS positions getting targeted by airstrikes and ground troops, it will be a matter of time until Mosul is completely liberated.