Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, November 2016
War on Mosul Intensifies the Humanitarian Tragedy of Iraqis Inside and Outside of the City
November 12, 2016
The US-led coalition which fights the Islamic State in northern Iraq consists of US-led NATO forces, Iraqi Shi'i government forces, Iranian-backed Shi'i militias, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The coalition's continuous attacks have resulted in the killing of thousands of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs and the eviction of thousands as a result of the destruction of their cities and villages.
Millions of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs are expected to leave their cities and villages as the fighting intensifies towards an all-attack by the US-led coalition on Mosul. The end outcome is evicting (ethnic cleansing of) Sunni Muslim Arabs from the upper Euphrates region of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria.
The following news stories from the official US and Iraqi websites do not mention any civilian casualties, as all reported deaths are claimed to be for ISIS members, who were killed in air strikes and bombardment on cities! Needless to say that independent sources are hard to find or report from. Thus, the following is a documentation of the death and destruction, as reported basically in such official website. Other independent reporting will be presented whenever available.
Sunni Muslim Arab Iraqi families fleeing Mosul, November 2016
Summary of the war in northern Iraq
Friday, November 11, 2016
The UN confirmed that Iraqis fleeing the war on Mosul reached 45,000 people. These who reached the refugee camps east of Mosul are suffering harsh humanitarian conditions, as a result of shortages in tents, water, food, and medical treatment.
400 Australian soldiers left their country to participate on the war on Mosul, under the guise of training Iraqi forces.
Kurdish peshmerga fighters committed organized crimes against Iraqi Arabs in Kirkuk area, looting and burning 25 houses in Qush Qaya village, west of Kirkuk.
Iraqi Ministry of health admitted that the medical care facilities have been destroyed in the Sunni Arab provinces, as a result of air strikes and bombardment by international and Iraqi government forces.
14 Syrian civilians were killed, scores were injured in Russian and regime air strikes on the country sides of Dara'a, Idlib, and Damascus.
The following are news stories from the US Department of Defense website (http://www.defense.gov/News) :
Iraqi Offensive to Liberate Mosul Entering Critical Phase
By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity
IRBIL, Iraq, Nov. 11, 2016 —
The Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is on or ahead of schedule, but the fight itself will take months, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said here yesterday.
Officials spoke on background as they accompanied Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on his trip to the region.
Iraqi forces are approaching the city from the east, northeast and south, officials said. They are led by Iraqi Counterterrorism Service troops acting as elite light infantry.
Also with the Iraqi forces are regular Iraqi army divisions, Kurdish peshmerga and Shia militia. They are all working together under the direction of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, the officials said.
There is some friction, said an official, but “the Kurds and Iraqi government said this is the closest they have ever worked together.” All factions in Iraq have a common enemy in ISIL and the Mosul offensive shows they can work together, the official said.
Still, there are tensions. Sunni populations in and around Mosul are worried that the Shia-dominated Popular Mobilization Forces may try to exact revenge for ISIL murders of Shia, the officials said.
Iraqi forces are closing with the city proper, but ISIL has had two years to fortify the region. The officials estimate there are between 3,000 and 5,000 ISIL fighters in and around Mosul. Outside the city, ISIL “bermed” some villages and towns and left others alone. “It is rather haphazard,” one of the officials said.
ISIL exhibits little unity of command and part of that may be because the average life span of a ISIL commander in Mosul is less than two weeks, the officials said. Trench lines do not connect with other lines, and there is no central plan. “One guy carved his name out of trenches in a field,” a planner said. “We don’t know why.”
Into the City
The counterterrorism forces have broken into the city on the eastern side, the officials said. Iraqi forces are within two miles of the city to the north and a bit more than that to the south. Outside the city, Iraqi forces are seeing more stand-off weapons, they said, while inside the city, ISIL is using direct fire, improvised explosive devices and mobility against the Iraqi liberators.
ISIL moves through tunnels and knocked-out walls between houses to gain an element of surprise, and a small number of fighters can hold up a far larger force. “Their strategy is just to ‘attrit’ and slow attacking forces,” the officials said. Iraqi forces have so far destroyed 73 tunnels.
Vehicle bombs are the weapon of choice for ISIL inside the city. Officials said there are car bomb factories in Mosul, and ISIL is quite skilled at armoring the driver’s compartments. Those vehicles are armored well enough to make it difficult to knock out without an anti-tank weapon, officials noted.
Intelligence officials estimate ISIL has fewer than a thousand foreign fighters inside the city itself, but they are considered the terror group’s best troops.
City combat can be devastating, officials said, and there are between 700,000 and 1.2 million civilians in the city. “There is some number of people who want to leave Mosul, but ISIL won’t let them,” an official said. “In fact, ISIL has closed its border with Syria so people don’t escape Mosul.”
Iraqi forces are following their doctrine as they clear the city. Essentially, troops move through, set a forward battle line and then “back-clear” through the area. “It is not the way U.S. troops would do it but it works for them,” the official said. “We’re here supporting the Iraqis, so they are fighting in their style. We are advising and assisting, but they are still using their doctrine techniques.”
Close air support from both manned and unmanned aircraft and tube and rocket artillery are providing a powerful punch for Iraqi forces, officials said.
Mosul is the fight today, but Inherent Resolve officials said they are looking beyond this battle. “It’s not just the day after Mosul or the day after Raqqa, it’s about keeping the pressure on [ISIL] to truly eliminate it so it doesn’t just reconstitute under another name and threaten Europe and the United States again,” an official said.
“Iraq is fighting its biggest battle of this war,” the official continued. “The fight in Mosul is a huge undertaking. We’re helping with that, but we continue to look for ways to keep up the pressure and militarily defeat [ISIL].”
Coalition Strikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Nov. 11, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Syria:
-- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed three ISIL oil production machines and an oil storage tank.
-- Near Ayn Isa, 11 strikes engaged five ISIL tactical units; destroyed three fighting positions, two vehicles, a command and control node, a storage facility, a heavy weapons system and a bulldozer; and damaged three supply routes and a tunnel system.
-- Near Manbij, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle, a heavy machine gun and a fighting position.
-- Near Palmyra, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two vehicles.
-- Near Baghdad, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Mosul, seven strikes engaged six ISIL tactical units and a staging area; destroyed six mortar systems, three vehicles, two weapons caches and an artillery system; and damaged a mortar system.
-- Near Rawah, a strike destroyed an ISIL storage container.
Coalition Targets ISIL in Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Nov. 10, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, a strike damaged an ISIL supply route.
-- Near Raqqah, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed a fighting position and a vehicle.
-- Near Ayn Isa, 13 strikes engaged eight ISIL tactical units and destroyed seven fighting positions, a vehicle, a cave, a bridge and an improvised explosive device.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Baghdad, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Mosul, seven strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL-held buildings, four vehicles, three mortar systems, three medium machine guns, four tunnels and two vehicle bombs; and damaged two supply routes, a solar panel, a rocket-propelled grenade, a vehicle bomb facility and a fighting position.
-- Near Rawah, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an oil tanker and damaged a tunnel.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike engaged an ISIL vehicle bomb facility
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