The next phase of the assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul is under way. Iraqi forces had liberated the eastern part of the city from ISIL control. They have now launched a broad offensive on the western side.
GCTN’s Sean Callebs reports.
Iraqi forces launch assault on western area of MosulThe next phase of the assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul is under way. Iraqi forces had liberated the eastern part of the city from ISIL control. They have now launched a broad offensive on the western side. GCTN's Sean Callebs reports.
Forces in Iraq are making progress as they close in on Western Mosul.Thousands of troops, hundreds of vehicles, –and aircraft are in the thick of the assault.
While, government troops appear close to the Mosul airport the immediate concern is for the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped amid the battle.
Karam Hamad, Captain of the Iraqi Federal Police says, “In front of us is the village of Lazagah –just after that, the power station has already been liberated. There is a hill behind that and the forces are going down from that hill into the Lazagah village. God willing – there will be little or no resistance by Islamic State group fighters.”
But video from an attack helicopter is an indication that attacking forces will have to fight for every inch they take back from ISIL troops.
Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq and strategically important. The city is split into east and west by the Tigris River. After a four-month fight to liberate east Mosul, more intense urban fighting is expected.
Streets are more narrow and the population more condensed in west Mosul.
The United Nations estimates as many as 800,000 civilians are caught in the crossfire.
With ISIL trying to establish its own state in the region – Iraq’s prime minister says right now the focus is on taking back the land, then, freeing civilians.
The U.S. now has 5,000 ground troops in the region, some of whom just arrived in country. But the overwhelming forces fighting ISIL are Iraqi, Kurdish troops and Shi’ite fighters trained by Iran.
Casualties have been heavy in the fight for Mosul. And, with little food and water the situation is dire for civilians.
ISIL forces are dug in. With so many civilians in harm’s way, at best, the region can expect tens of thousands of new refugees.