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Sunday, July 9

Iraqi Army Command: Victory in Mosul now a matter of days

"Iraqi sources announced that the Iraqi Army has finally evacuated most of the civilians from Old Mosul and that all the remaining women or men are fighters and members of ISIS terrorist organization." - SouthFront

“The women are fighting with their children right beside them,” Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi was quoted as saying by AP earlier this week. “It's making us hesitant to use airstrikes, to advance. If it weren’t for this we could be finished in just a few hours.”
- RT


CNN Senior International Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh was actually in Raqqa, Syria, observing the fight there against Islamic State, when he filed a video report (which seems to use Reuters footage), aired yesterday at 5:20pm EDT, on the Iraqi Army's battle against IS in Mosul, Iraq. The outcome is now inevitable; it's really down to a matter of hours before the army finishes routing the last remaining pockets of IS resistance in the 'old' part of the city.

Walsh cautions this won't end a low-grade insurgency that will continue for the foreseeable future but Iraq, at least, will finally see the end of IS as an organization. He reports, briefly, that the Coalition attack on IS forces in Raqqa is making faster progress than had been expected. Although he didn't mention it, this isn't entirely good news if it means the bulk of IS fighters in Raqqa has simply transferred to other parts of Syria. See "As Mosul and Raqqa fall, ISIL looks to Deir Ezzor for their last stand," AMN, July 5. 

However, it does look as if Islamic State's vaunted caliphate, based in Raqqa, is rapidly drawing to an end.         


From Southfront, July 8 (see website for photos and video):

ISIS COMMANDERS COMMITTING SUICIDE IN MOSUL AS IRAQI ARMY ADVANCES

According to Iraqi sources, a number of ISIS commanders and fighters have committed suicide by blowing up their explosive belts in the Old Mosul area in order to prevent the Iraqi Army from capturing them.

From its side, Iraqi forces have continued securing the right part of Old Mosul. Iraqi forces have killed a large number of ISIS snipers and commanders, including the Saudi national commander Abu Hafsa, the adviser of al-Baghdadi Ayed al-Jumaili and the ISIS governor of Ninawa Province, Abu Ahmad al-Iraqi.

Separately, Iraqi forces have deployed a defensive line on the eastern bank of the Tigris River to prevent any ISIS fighters from escaping to the left side of Mosul City.

Iraqi sources announced that the Iraqi Army has finally evacuated most of the civilians from Old Mosul and that all the remaining women or men are fighters and members of ISIS terrorist organization.

From its side, the ISIS-linked News Agency Amaq said that all the remaining fighters in Old Mosul have given “pledge of allegiance until death” to the Caliphate.

ISIS appears to be encouraging its fighters in Mosul to commit suicide so that they are not caught and provide the Iraqi security forces with sensitive information.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Room announced that the Federal Police achieved all their goals in Mosul City. Iraqi forces are now searching homes for the remaining ISIS snipers and commanders to capture or kill them. And the operations to secure the city are expected to end in the coming hours.


[END REPORT]

And from RT, today:


ISIS vows fight to death as Iraqi military says Mosul just ‘meters’ from imminent liberation

Islamic State terrorists have vowed to “fight to the death” and are using civilians as human shields in Mosul as Iraqi forces make a final push to retake Iraq's second-largest city. The US coalition said victory in Mosul is now “imminent.”

“The battle has reached the phase of chasing the insurgents in remaining blocks,” the Iraqi military media office said in a statement, Reuters reports. “Some members of Daesh have surrendered.”

“Our units are still continuing to advance... Not much is left before our forces reach the [Tigris] river,” where ISIS still controls the riverside district of al Maydan, the Joint Operations Command said Saturday, according to AP.

While some of the Iraqi forces are already celebrating their victory over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), jihadist fighters, who control a territory less than one square kilometer have vowed to hold on to it or die fighting for Mosul’s Old City.

Islamist fighters “were holding onto their fortified positions,” the jihadists’ Amaq news agency reported, as cited by Reuters. “The fighters of Islamic State are collectively pledging (to fight to the) death in Maydan.”

Iraqi troops, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes and Shia and Kurdish militias, have liberated the whole eastern side of Mosul in a six-month offensive that began in October.

But securing the west of the city, in particular, the Old City, where the militants are currently holed up, has proved a challenge and an increasingly deadly operation, as firmly-entrenched militants have put up fierce resistance through booby traps, sniper fire and mortar shells filled with toxic gas.

The militants also continue to use civilians as human shields as they try to hang on to the last bits of turf, enlisting all of their family members to battle the Iraqi forces.

“The women are fighting with their children right beside them,” Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi was quoted as saying by AP earlier this week. “It's making us hesitant to use airstrikes, to advance. If it weren’t for this we could be finished in just a few hours.”

Mosul’s liberation was “imminent,” Brig Gen Robert Sofge said Saturday, refusing to elaborate only saying that “it’s going to be very soon.”

Throughout the course of the campaign, human rights groups have repeatedly accused the US-led coalition of indiscriminately bombarding the civilian population in Mosul. On Friday, the US military officially confirmed a total of 603 civilian deaths in the US-led air campaign in Iraq and Syria, although independent research and human rights group estimate the figures to be significantly higher. [Pundita note: Okay, RT, get off your soapbox.]

[END REPORT]

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