A commander in the Rojava Peshmerga denied a report published by a German newspaper alleging that German-supplied weapons were used in last week’s clashes between the Rojava Peshmerga, backed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and the Shingal Protection Units (YBS), a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) affiliate. Germany has reportedly called for clarification from the KRG.
An official from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Peshmerga on Saturday revealed the US would continue its support for Peshmerga forces this year.
During a press conference in Sulaimani, the Secretary General of the Peshmerga Ministry Jabar Yawar said the US would arm two Peshmerga brigades in 2017 and Canada would arm another unit.
The Prime Minister of Iraq said that it reached an important agreement with Turkey, whereby Turkey agreed to withdraw its troops from Iraq in the Mosul area and “to respect the territorial integrity of Iraq.” The Iraqi government, according to Kurdish sources promised to limit the influence of the PKK on Iraqi territory, although it’s going to do it, it is not clear how the PKK operates mainly in the territories controlled by the Peshmerga.
After the failure of the December attempt to storm al-Bab and the departure of the Turkish troops in position to the West of the city, the fighting here took positional character. The Turks are engaged in the accumulation of forces, continuing to throw from Turkey additional forces of infantry and armored vehicles, as well as groups of fighters from Idlib, to replenish suffered serious losses in December, groups of “Ahrar al-sham” and the Syrian Free Army. Turkish aircraft and artillery intensively work on the defensive positions of the Caliphate. According to Turkish sources, the Turks help from Russian air forces, and officially this assistance the defense Ministry confirmed.
An interesting collection of photos of French special forces fighting in Iraq. The photo below shows the French subsidiary acting in conjunction with Iraqi army and Peshmerga in the Kirkuk area and to the North of Mosul.
As a result, the operation to take Mosul swiftly, when it quickly ripped open the defense of the Caliphate and connected in the center of Mosul, turned into something unintelligible, which only develops at the expense of the overwhelming superiority in men and materiel, with heavy losses and without any operational victories. For more than a month of fighting, the Caliphate lost about 2100-2300 killed and wounded, the loss of the coalition reach 4500-4700 killed and wounded (among whom, there are several dozen NATO soldiers). According to the them, the Caliphate lost up to 12 tanks, 25 armored combat vehicles and about 60 trucks.
The Golden Division reached one more sector of eastern Mosul, but was mostly trying to clear what it already gained. Zuhur was the newest neighborhood breached by the elite division. Otherwise the unit was trying to consolidate its areas, which have seen constant fighting since the city was reached on October 31.
The Hashd were still trying to encircle Tal Afar to the west. In the process it freed five new villages. When the forces do reach the town, it is likely to set off another round of threats from Turkey that has warned that it does not want the Hashd to take the village.
It is likely that part of the claimed U.S. aircraft “destroyed targets”, these are the wooden models. In addition to mines and suicide bombers, the big problem are the numerous DAESH tunnels under the earth, that they use to move their assault groups and supply front-line units with ammunition . The city set up a mobile anti-tank group on the trucks, which, at the request move to threatened sectors where there are attempts columns of tanks and armored fighting vehicles to move through urban development and provide a saturation of the battle formations with anti-tank weapons (“Cornet”, TOW, RPG).
On November 8, continuing intense fighting in the Eastern outskirts of Mosul. From the North coming to the city the Kurds, from the South 2 Iraqi brigades moving slowly. The sweep of the city clearly tightened. In the southern neighborhoods as a result of mass burning pits of oil, the air on a number of messages so polluted that even the militants themselves were forced to leave a number of checkpoints, because without masks the fighting became difficult.
The advance into Mosul in the North and the South still lags far behind the scheduled pace, resulting in the assault of the city actually occurs in the forehead with one direction, hence the very modest results. The Kurds are not particularly in a hurry, avoiding excessive losses that quickly enough, met the Iraqi army, when in the street fighting clashed with the Caliphate. The Iraqis are slowly but surely approaching from the South, gradually occupying the cities and towns along the Tigris.
On November 4 several new neighborhoods in southeast Mosul were entered. The towns and eastern Mosul neighborhoods of Tahrir, Zahara, Malaeen, Samah, Khazraa, Karakul, Quds, and Karama were all attacked. Forces had to withdraw from Karama after heavy resistance by the Islamic State. There was on going fighting in Intisar as well that was entered yesterday. The Golden Division later claimed that Aden, Samah, Karkukli, Khadra, Ikhaa, Quds, Malaeen and the town of Gogjali were freed, although a resident told Reuters that one of those was still contested.
Apparently, the original plans of the storming of Mosul was linked to backroom agreements with the leadership of “DAESH” that was either a mutiny or retreat from Mosul to Syria. The plot backfired – conspirators were caught and executed, and the Caliphate has launched a campaign of terrorism in the controlled territories with the aim to suppress even potential unrest in its parts and in the occupied territories. At the same time, from 2 to 3 thousand fighters have been taken out of Eastern Syria and transferred under Mosul. Here, as in the old proverb “do not dig a hole for another or you will fall into it yourself”.
The joint Iraqi forces were pushing in on Mosul from all sides on October 30. The Hashd who are now moving from the south towards Tal Afar west of Mosul made some more conspiratorial accusations against the U.S., while threatening to go to Syria after Mosul was liberated.
Iraqi troops entered the Karama district of the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul on Monday, their first advance into the city itself after two weeks of fighting in the surrounding area to dislodge the militants, an officer said.
“They have entered Mosul,” General Wissam Araji of the U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service told Reuters. “They are fighting now in Hay (disrict) al-Karama.”
The Hashd and Federal Police were moving southwest of Mosul heading for the town of Tal Afar on the thirteenth day of the Mosul operation. That led to more inflammatory remarks by Turkey. There were also more executions by the Islamic State and displacement.
This is it then. The battle for Mosul, which had first been announced (a bit hastily) by Iraqi government officials in mid-2015, has finally begun. An improbable alliance of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni tribesmen and Shia militias, some of them supported and trained by Western advisers, is now besieging IS’ Iraqi capital, with Coalition aircraft ruling the skies over Northern Iraq. Considering the various forces involved, there is not much doubt left over the outcome of the battle. The combined might of Western air forces and Special Ops, regular Iraqi units and various ethnic and sectarian militias will prevail against the armies of the Caliphate, at least what is left of them inside Mosul. Yet, the careful optimism displayed by many in the media could be proven wrong somehow, especially with regards to the prospects for long term survival of the “Islamic State”.
The military situation in the area of Mosul. In fact, over the last 3-4 days offensive was stopped. The greatest success achieved by the Peshmerga units South of Mosul, came to its borders at 5-7 km In the North and West, the Coalition faced strong resistance from the Caliphate.
In Mosul IS continues to face difficulties. First, it has shifted most of its families and fighters to the right bank of the city, and planted explosives on all the bridges connecting that side with the other side of the city. The press has said that IS only has 2,000-5,000 fighters to protect this metropolis limiting their defensive options. It looks like IS intends to put up a tough fight in the surrounding towns, but when Mosul itself is reached it will carry out delaying attacks and then fall back to the right bank to put up its last stand, knocking out the bridges to slow the Iraqi forces.
Turkey joined in the Mosul operation for the first time. It fired artillery into the Bashiqa district. The Turks claimed they were supporting the Kurdish effort, but that was disputed. What was not in argument was that this as against the direct consent of the Iraqi government. Prime Minister Haidar Abadi has continuously rejected Ankara playing any role in Mosul, and the situation only escalated after President Erdogan insulted the Iraqi premier. The artillery fire may be just a way to anger Baghdad even more.
“The is the last point, it is the border that President Barzani assigned for us. If we are commanded, we will advance further. But for the time being we are here,” a Peshmerga official, told Rudaw.