Mosul resists ISIL

Emmanuel Asher, World at a Glance Editor

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ISIS, known as ISIL or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant outside of Syria, began in 1999 and was part of al-Qaeda in Iraq. They had also participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the March 2003 invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein’s Ba’thist Iraq.

Mosul fell to ISIL in June of 2014 due to poor leadership and morale among the soldiers resulting in many dropping their weapons and uniforms and fleeing from the city. Many ended up defecting to ISIL or other groups despite outnumbering ISIL 15 to 1.

Life under ISIL has not been easy for many residents living in Mosul. Jihadists enforce rules such as no smoking and men must have long beards and not wear western clothing. Women must be fully covered in black, head to toe. Women can also not leave their house without being accompanied by a male relative.

Theft is punished by amputating the hand and beheadings and whippings have become the norm in the city.

On October 16, 2016 and joint offensive by the Iraqi government, Kurdish forces, allied militias, and international forces began an operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. Currently the Iraqi forces have been met with fierce resistance from Islamic State fighters, suicide bombers, and snipers.

The Islamic State has also laid IEDS and mines as well as built hundreds of underground tunnels in the villages surrounding Mosul. The United States Department of Defense has estimated that there are currently 3,000 to 5,000 ISIL fighters within the city.  

The Mosul Eye, who is an anonymous blogger within Mosul, says half of the jihadists are highly trained with the rest being teenagers or not well trained. The blogger also says that the water and power have been cut for over a week with many stranded in their homes afraid to stay or leave.

ISIL has been currently kidnapping civilians from surrounding villages to be used as human shields which has received widespread condemnation from the United Nations Security Council and human rights groups. People such as the elderly and children have been reported as being used as human shields as well.

ISIL has been defending Mosul by lighting toxic fires in sulfur mines as well as using suicide bombers in an attempt to slow coalition forces. They have also been reports of ISIL carrying out retribution killings of civilians who aid coalition forces or as way to keep civilians in check.

Iraqi military sources within Mosul have been identifying ISIL positions for the U.S. led air coalition which is backed by U.S. troops on the ground. Some informers were not so lucky and many were publicly crucified or executed.

Fighting within Mosul has been difficult due to how well entrenched ISIL fighters are in the city. Iraqi forces in the city are having to go house by house and neighborhood by neighborhood making the liberation of Mosul more difficult.

As of November 14, 2016 Islamic State defences have only been breached in the east of the city with heavy fighting in other parts. The Iraqi Coalition has started using drones which gives them a critical advantage on gathering information of ISIL positions.

ISIL has also been using drones to gather information on Iraqi positions with both sides firing frantically at each others drones.

There have been concerns of a massive humanitarian crisis due to the 1.5 million civilians trapped within the city. U.N. aid agencies are not fully funded and there are fears that the largest man-made displacement could take place within Mosul.

Currently there is a possibility that Mosul will be liberated from the Islamic State sometime in 2017.

Warrior Nation should care about this is because terrorism can happen anywhere at anytime. Defeating ISIL from Mosul is considered a breakthrough for  anti-terrorism.

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