Battle of Mosul: what comes next?


I am following the last few days of battle is Mosul where there are only a few pockets of Daesh fighters left. The second largest city of Iraq is about to be fully liberated from Daesh.

I just wanted to share a few interesting recent videos that I found.

First, this excellent short video which explains why Mosul matters:

The following interview is interesting because, in light of the previous video, it provides some hope for the future of Iraq, as a peaceful, multi-cultural nation:
Nothing is a given, and the road ahead will be very long and frought with difficulties; obviously, we hope for the best.

The cost of war is always heavy. While we can only be satisfied that IS is on the retreat, we can't forget the price paid, especially by the civilian population caught in the cross-fire:
"Liberation or obliteration? A look at the price paid to recapture Mosul"

As the battle is still raging in the old Mosul, brave female students are already working on reopening the recently liberated Mosul University:

Wikipedia: Battle of Mosul (2016–present).

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Blog Post Response

I responded to this via a new blog post because of length:

The Fall of Mosul (2016)

Excellent documentary, which provides a comprehensive historical background.

Frontline documentary

Another very good documentary by Frontline / The Guardian about the ongoing battle fo Mosul:
It highlights well the challenges for after the battle: how to prevent future sectarian clashes, how to ensure that the Iraqi army does not make the same mistakes as in 2013-14 which had led the people of Mosul to welcome Daesh as liberators... before realising that Daesh was even worth than anything they had ever known.

Winning the war and winning the battle of Mosul is much more challenging than any military advisor could have imagined, but the much more portent challenge will be to win the peace. In that respect, I salute the attitude of Iraqi army commander featured in this documentary.

2 part video

Good reporting showing the human tragedy... and the profound humanity that remains despite the brutality of the war. Very touching.

November 2016:
CNN reporter trapped with Iraqi forces during ISIS attack
March 2017 (follow up of previous video):
Return to Mosul - CNN Documentary (FULL VIDEO)

A difficult battle

As a measure of the difficulty of the battle for Mosul,
Sunday 2nd July, news reports stated that Daesh still controlled one square kilometer of Mosul, with 200 combatants holed inside.
Today (Wednesday the 5th), this report claims that Daesh controls 500 square meters, with up to 300 Daesh combatants holed up inside.

MOSUL: An Iraqi commander says he believes some 300 Daesh fighters remain in the small patch of territory still controlled by the group in Mosul’s Old City.

Lt Gen Sami Al Aridi of Iraq’s special forces said on Wednesday that the militants are confined to a 500 square metre (600 sq. yard) area.

He spoke the day after Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi congratulated the armed forces on a “big victory” in Mosul, despite ongoing clashes.

How many civilians / soldiers die for each re-captured house/street?

The atrocity of this battle

The atrocity of this battle is overwhelming. 250 square meters left of Daesh-controlled Mosul. The ISIS militants resort more and more to suicide bombing, sometimes forcing civilians, including women, to wear suicide belts which are exploded as they approach Iraqi forces. The fierce battle is ongoing as thousands civilians are still trapped in the remaining Daesh controlled houses and streets.

There are so many lessons to be learned by the whole ordeal, but I have only faint hopes that some of them will be.
Yesterday, I was pondering on our share of responsibility in all this death and destruction.

Islamic State makes desperate stand in Mosul, commanders say

Iraqi forces have reduced the territory under Islamic State control to 250 square meters, a senior official in the international coalition supporting Iraqi forces told Reuters.

"It has been a tough fight but we anticipated that right throughout this campaign because you’re looking at a dispersed, disintegrated and demoralized enemy in those last pockets of Mosul," said New Zealand Army Brigadier Hugh McAslan.

"Throughout the last couple of weeks, we've seen exploitation of the population and an increase of atrocities against the local population as they look to flee a cruel and brutal occupation."


Months of grinding urban warfare have displaced 900,000 people, about half the city's pre-war population, and killed thousands, according to aid organizations.

The United Nations predicts it will cost more than $1 billion to repair basic infrastructure in Mosul, while Iraq's Kurdish leader said on Thursday in a Reuters interview that the Baghdad government had failed to prepare a post-battle political, security and governance plan.

The last days of the shrinking Isis enclave in the Old City
Iraq, residents tell of the brutally repressive measures used against them

ISIS Fighters Are Using Their Own Children as Human Shield

Iraqi Commanders Say ISIS Fighters in Mosul Are Using Their Own Children as Human Shields

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi commanders say female Islamic State (ISIS) militants are firing on their forces and using children as human shields as the extremist group defends its last sliver of Mosul's Old City.


"The women are fighting with their children right beside them," Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi said as he was briefed by an officer holding a tablet computer showing drone imagery. "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."

Another officer in the command post suggested using Iraqi artillery, which would not require approval from the U.S.-led coalition. "They're all Daesh, just kill them all," the commander said, referring to ISIS by its Arabic acronym.

"There are civilians there, but they are Daesh families," said another officer. Neither would agree to speak on the record, in line with military regulations.

"For a child, even if his father is a criminal, what has he done?" al-Aridi said. "At the same time, my men are still taking casualties. We had 14 wounded today already."

Women have also carried out suicide bombings against Iraqi forces. Three female suicide bombers hiding among fleeing civilians killed at least three soldiers over the past week.

A grim example of the Ad Parente fallacy.

Major IS counterattack

Major IS counterattack in Mosul pushes back Iraqi forces

A major Islamic State group counterattack Friday along the northern edge of Mosul’s Old City neighborhood has pushed Iraqi Army forces back some 75 meters (82 yards) and is threatening recent gains in other Old City fronts, an Iraqi military officer said.

The officer said the attack was launched just after noon Friday and estimated it was carried out by 50 to 100 IS fighters. A doctor at a medic station said he received more than a dozen wounded Iraqi soldiers.


The counterattacks underscore the extremist group’s resilience in Iraq, despite significant territorial losses and months of heavy fighting with Iraqi forces backed by U.S. air power.

The pockets of IS-held Mosul now measure less than a square kilometer.


Humanitarian groups have repeatedly suspended operations in and around Mosul due to security concerns since the fight to retake the city from IS began last October.

This terrifying battle just won't end...
The battle for Mosul is already largely compared to the battle of Stalingrad.

This whole ordeal is heart-wrenching. :(

'Victory' in Mosul to Be Announced in Next Hours

'Victory' Over Islamic State in Mosul to Be Announced in Next Hours: Iraqi State TV

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces expect to take full control of Mosul in the next hours as only a few meters are left under the control of Islamic State, Iraqi state TV said on Saturday.

"We are seeing now the last meters (of the battle) and then victory will be announced," said a TV speaker, citing the channel's correspondents embedded with security forces battling in Islamic State's redoubt in the Old City of Mosul, by the Tigris river. "It's a matter of hours," she said.

A military spokesman cited by the TV said the insurgents' defense lines were collapsing.

At long last!!!

May there be Peace in Mosul and in Iraq!

Mosul Update 2017: ISIS nearly pushed out of Iraqi city

ABC News interview from yesterday:
Interesting update by a reporter on the ground. It covers all the main points of this horrific battle, and the challenges for the road ahead, after the complete victory in Mosul has been achieved.

First report of complete victory

I just saw the first news report of complete victory.
I hope it's not premature, but that's really it!


Baghdad: On Saturday, Iraqi security forces (ISF) liberated the strategic Old Mosul city, the last ISIS stronghold in the city of Mosul, the Iraqi military has declared.

ISF lliberated Nujaifi street, Bab al-Toub and Souk al-Sagha and broke the remaining ISIS defense lines inside the area. At least 74 ISIS members were reportedly killed during their failed attempt to flee Old City.

Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, Iraqi Joint Operations Command Spokesman, said that ISF have captured the entire Old Mosul area adding that this is the end of ISIS in the city.

With the liberation of Old Mosul, the Iraqi government will likely declare that it has a full control over the city. However, the security situation in Mosul remains complicated, many ISIS sleeper cells still operate in the area.

Another interview

Martin Reardon Interviewed by TRT World: ISIS and the Battle for Mosul
Interview which partially tries to answer the question in the title of this blog entry: Battle of Mosul: what comes next?

Q- Should Iraq invite the US back to Iraq?
A- Certainly not! The US is responsible for starting this mess in the first place!
Q- Is there an reason to be optimistic about the future of Iraq?
A- That's a difficult question...

Civilians help
Some of the civilians who were prisoners in their own city during Daesh occupation of Mosul are now working for free, helping to recover from under the rubble the bodies of family members killed in coalition airstrikes...