Official Iraqi authorities announced a large-scale offensive on the Western part of Mosul. Baghdad is clearly in a hurry – before Donald trump announced a possible revision of the plans of Obama for the release of this city, remaining a stronghold of the ISIS in Iraq. But how realistic are the plans of Baghdad and whether or not the war with the Islamists is coming to a logical end?
On Sunday, as reported by Agence France-Presse, Iraq’s armed forces took control of two villages South of Mosul – ATB and al-Lazzaro. According to Lieutenant General Abdulamir of Jarallah, military moving towards Mosul airport, RIA “Novosti”. In turn, Reuters reported that the Iraqi air force dropped on Western Mosul millions of leaflets warning of the attack, addressed to the civilian population.
“If in the East participated in the battles mostly “young” ISIS in the West of the Iraqi troops will have to deal with an experienced old soldiers”
The West of the city surrounded by the army of Iraq for almost three months.
In January, the Central command of U.S. forces reported that the Eastern part of Mosul liberated from the terrorist group “Islamic state” and Iraqi military announced the establishment of full control over Eastern Mosul on January 18.
Media reported that aid from the West comes not only consultative, but also combat. In General, the operation for the liberation of the city started in October. In connection with the fighting in the city broke out a large-scale humanitarian crisis, pointed to Russia and the Red Cross.
On the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe
As reported in Saturday office for the coordination of humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), further from the fighting city can leave to 400 thousand people. “Humanitarian agencies are hurriedly preparing for the humanitarian consequences of the military campaign. South of Mosul, built refugee centers, as well as procurement of essential goods. The stock is designed for 250-400 thousand people who can leave the city”, – TASS quoted an excerpt from a newsletter OCHA, distributed in Baghdad.
In total, according to UN estimates, in the Western part of Mosul can be up to 800 thousand civilians. After three months ago had blocked the highway to Syria, in these areas are practically not transported commercial goods and not received humanitarian assistance. Sources in Western areas of the city reported to the UN that almost half of grocery stores in Western Mosul closed, and the bakery can’t buy the flour because of the high prices.
By itself, Western Mosul includes the historic center of the city, where the oldest markets, Grand mosque and a large part of government agencies. It is believed that the battle for the Western part of the city will be difficult because the narrow streets of this part of Mosul will be an obstacle for tanks and armored vehicles.
Declare does not mean to attack
Head of the research Department of middle East conflicts and the armed forces of the region of the Institute of innovative development Anton Mardas suggested that between the announcement of a large-scale attack on Western Mosul and the attack will be some pause, after all, to fighting in the Western part of Mosul is much more complicated than in the East. “Now it takes time to transfer more combat-ready units to the Eastern part of the city. We are talking about battered in the fighting units of the “Gold division”, and brigades special forces of the Iraqi army, assisted by U.S. military trainers and air controllers. In addition, operations can not do without the participation of Kurdish groups that is due to the difficulties in logistics,” he told the newspaper VIEW.
Of Mardas recalled that the fighting on the Eastern Bank of the Tigris in recent time did not stop, despite the fact that there is already announced the creation of refugee camps. “Using a mobile craft, LIH* performs acts of sabotage in the Eastern part of the city. At least a few days ago, clashes were reported in four districts in Eastern Mosul,” he said, adding that in fact the transfers between Iraq and Syria still has not interrupted. “The formation of a Shiite “al-Hashd al-SHAABI”, included in the government army, not always effectively hold positions on the Syrian-Iraqi border, ISIS, and often fails to provide the rotation of units and delivery of ammunition and food,” he said.
Military expert agree with the statement that the Western section of Mosul has been strengthened considerably stronger than the East. Thus, if in the East participated in the battles mostly “young” ISIS in the West of the Iraqi troops will have to deal with an experienced old men. In particular, with the so-called special forces of the Islamic state and groups who have been Afghanistan and Syria. “The streets of Mosul equally narrow in the West and in the East, however, urban development in the Eastern part of the city is much more dense. Moreover, it dug more underground utilities, tunnels that militants will use to shelter from the bombing and shelling and sunset advancing units in the flanks and the rear,” he added.
According to Murgasova, LIH is full of gaps in the Syrian-Iraqi border, not only for rotation and supply. “Even during Saddam Hussein’s regime in these areas were built a whole infrastructure of underground tunnels. They can hold warehouses, and it is possible to get away from the Western Mosul to be the most efficient part of the militants,” – said the military expert.
He also stated that he did not understand the U.S. position regarding the assault on Western Mosul. “Previously, Donald trump spoke about the revision of the plan of operations for the capture of the city, and it is possible that the Iraqi government is deliberately forcing events announcing the beginning of the assault without coordination with the Americans,” he suggested.
In the end, the assault on Western Mosul may be delayed for one month.
* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”