Even Optimists Losing Hope in Mosul Liberation From Daesh in 2017 – Russian MoD

Members of the Iraqi army's 9th Division fire a multiple rocket launcher from a hill in Talul al-Atshana, on the southwestern outskirts of Mosul, on February 27, 2017, during an offensive to retake the city from Daesh fighters


Even optimists are losing hope that Mosul could be liberated from Daesh this year, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

MOSCOW.  Even the most optimistic souls are losing hope that the Iraqi city of Mosul can be liberated from Daesh by the end of 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said Saturday.

“Let me remind you that rose-colored slogans about the encirclement and the quick victory of the coalition in Iraqi Mosul have already resulted in significant losses of Iraqi forces and a growing humanitarian catastrophe. Even the greatest optimists are losing faith in the possibility of the complete liberation of Mosul from Daesh this year,” Konashenkov said.

The city of Mosul has been occupied by Daesh, outlawed in many countries, including Russia, since 2014. The operation to retake it began on October 17, 2016 and resulted in the liberation of Mosul’s eastern part this January, but fighting continues in the city’s western areas. The operation to liberate it started on February 19.

At Least 9 Iraqi Soldiers Killed in Anti-Daesh Mosul Operation


 Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd division walk behind their vehicles for cover as they engage Islamic State (IS) fighters while pushing into the Aden neighbourhood in Mosul on November 16, 2016

    At least nine Iraqi troops died in the government forces’ attempt to recapture the city of Mosul, currently held by Daesh terrorist group, Rudaw news agency reported.

   According to the agency’s Twitter, over 20 soldiers were injured in the attack.

   On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi launched the operation to retake the city. The operation began with 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and 30,000 Iraqi soldiers backed by the US-led anti-terror coalition.

   Mosul, the second biggest Iraqi city, and several other northern and western Iraqi cities and towns were seized in 2014 during an offensive of Daesh.

Battle for Mosul Day 27: Iraqi Forces Win Back Ancient City of Nimrud

Battle for Mosul Day 27: Iraqi Forces Win Back Ancient City of Nimrud
 (FNA)- Iraq’s military offensive to liberate the city of Mosul from ISIL’s control continued on Sunday as reports said Iraq’s joint military forces managed to seize back the ancient city of Nimrud 30 kilometers to the South of Mosul.

Iraqi Forces Win Back Ancient City of Nimrud Near Mosul

Iraq’s joint military forces managed to seize back the ancient city of Nimrud 30 kilometers to the South of the city of Mosul.

“The Iraqi army’s Ninth Armored Division inflicted heavy losses on the ISIL terrorists after taking full control of Nimrud ancient city and its surrounding areas,” senior Iraqi Commander Major General Abdel Amir Yarallah said on Sunday.

Iraq’s joint military forces are now in full control of the ancient city.

Popular Forces’ Commanders Blast US for Troubling Mosul Operation

Commanders of popular forces in Iraq lashed out at the US-led coalition for hindering the operation to fully liberate Mosul.

“The popular and resistance forces are not pleased with the US-led international coalition’s presence in Nineveh operations since they do not coordinate operations with the popular forces in the Western front,” Spokesman and a senior commander of Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Battalions) popular forces Jafar al-Hosseini told FNA on Sunday.

He said that the popular forces have called on the government to exclude the US-led coalition from the Western front.

Iraqi Forces Continue to Advance in Eastern Mosul

Iraq’s joint military forces continued to move ahead in several directions inside Mosul and seized back several more districts Southeast of the city, while the ISIL has resorted to dispatching female suicide bombers to war fronts to prevent the army’s further advances.

“The Iraqi forces entered the Eastern flank of the city from the Southeastern side and purged terrorists from al-Entesar, Jadideh al-Mufti, al-Shima, al-Salam and Youness al-Sabawi regions as well as all the villages located to the North of al-Zab river,” Senior Iraqi Commander Abdel Amir Rashid Yarallah said on Sunday.

ISIL Attacks Village in Central Iraq with Chemical Shells

ISIL attacked a village in the Central Iraqi Salaheddin province with the shells of chlorine gas, killing at least three people, a local source reported.

The source said terrorists fired at the village over 15 mortar shells containing chemical chlorine, Al-Sumeriya reported.

“The ISIL attacked a village in Al-Shirqat region with more than 15 mortar shells, some of those containing toxic chemical chlorine. As a result of firing three people were killed, two were wounded, among them women and children. Material damage was done, as well,” the source further added.

ISIL Orders Militants’ Withdrawal to Mosul City Center

Commander of ‘We Are Coming Nineveh’ Military Operation Najm al-Jabouri said the ISIL has ordered its militants to withdraw from their positions to the center of the city of Mosul.

“The advances made by the Iraqi forces from several directions have resulted in ISIL’s withdrawal to Mosul city center,” the Arabic-language media quoted al-Jabouri as saying on Sunday.

The commander said that ISIL’s withdrawal order came from fear of confrontation with the Iraqi security forces.

He noted that Iraq’s joint security forces are forcefully and rapidly advancing towards towns located to the East and North of Mosul city.

Iraqi Forces Kill 30 Militants, Defuse 30 Car Bombs in Mosul

Forces of Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) purged ISIL militants from two districts in Eastern Mosul and began advancing in a third neighborhood.

CTS commander Lieutenant-General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi made the announcement, while adding that 30 militants were killed in the process, presstv reported.

He said that Iraqi forces are now fully in control of the district of al-Arbajiya and are currently halfway through purging the adjacent al-Qadisiya al-Thaniya district.

What’s Behind Pentagon ‘Deliberately Forcing’ Daesh to Leave Mosul for Syria


 Iraqi special forces take part in an operation against Islamic State militants in Kokjali, west of Mosul, Iraq November 2, 2016

   US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has pledged that Daesh fighters fleeing Mosul will be destroyed on their way to or in Syria, prompting experts to question whether the Pentagon was tacitly urging the militants to leave the second largest city in Iraq amid a major anti-terrorism operation, involving Baghdad-led forces and the US-led coalition.

   Washington is “deliberately forcing [Daesh] to flee to Syria since … the US has made every effort to make the militants destroy Bashar al-Assad and his regime,” defense analyst Victor Litovkin told RT. “This is why Carter’s remarks are a message to terrorists indicating where … Americans will let them go.”

   The offensive to liberate Mosul, Daesh’s stronghold in Iraq, was launched on October 16, with local and US defense officials saying that it is ostensibly going according to plan, if not ahead of schedule. Iraqi security forces, the US-led coalition, Kurdish fighters and local allies are said to have liberated at least 120 villages and towns close to the city and have entered Mosul itself earlier this week.

   Critics say that anti-Daesh forces have in fact been bogged down in Mosul and are struggling to advance.

   “Those trying to retake [Mosul] are interested in their adversary leaving it. Then they could secure a victory more easily and take control of the city with minimal losses,” Semen Bagdasarov, director of the Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies, told RT.

    Sceptics have pointed out that Washington wanted the operation to proceed faster, so that Mosul’s liberation took place prior to the upcoming US presidential election in a bid to convince voters that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton could reach foreign policy objectives. However, the operation has proceeded at a slower pace and could take much longer to succeed than anticipated.

   “We do not know whether some of the so-called moderate rebels, who are partially involved in keeping Mosul under Daesh’s control, are affiliated with the coalition forces,” Alexey Mukhin, head of the Moscow-based Center for Political Information, told RT. “But even if these fighters listen and leave Mosul, it does not mean that the city will be retaken without bloodshed or civilian losses. Remaining militants will use civilians as a human shield.”

   The analyst further said that should anti-Daesh forces rush into Mosul, this could lead to “massive civilian casualties,” casting hardliners in the US in a bad light in the final days before the presidential election.

Mosul Liberation to Take Three More Months – Iraqi Kurdistan President



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   It will take another three months to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Daesh militants if the offensive continues progressing at the rate it is now, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani said.

     On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of a military operation to retake Mosul from Daesh, a jihadist group outlawed in Russia and a number of other states.

“We see that they [Daesh] have hundreds of suicide bombers, they must have factories for production of explosives. This would create great danger during the assault. If everything goes well, I expect that it will be possible to liberate the city in three months at the latest,” Barzani told the Bild tabloid in an interview published late on Thursday.

 According to the official, the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters will not participate in the offensive in the city itself, as they are bound by an agreement with Baghdad and the international US-led coalition.

  “However, if they were to ask us and there were a new agreement, we would of course help, we are ready for this.”

   According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are taking part in the operation, backed by airstrikes carried out by the US-led international coalitio

Turkish Artillery, Tanks Support Kurds Taking Part in Mosul Operation

 Smoke billows from an area near the Iraqi town of Nawaran, some 10km north east of Mosul, as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters march down a dirt road on October 20, 2016, during the ongoing operation to retake the city from the Islamic State (IS) group

   Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Turkish artillery and tanks are supporting the northern Iraqi Kurdish forces Peshmerga in the operation to liberate the Iraqi settlement of Bashiqa from the Daesh terrorist group.

   ANKARA . Turkish artillery and tanks are supporting the northern Iraqi Kurdish forces Peshmerga that participate in the military operation aimed at liberation the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) terror group, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday.

  “The Peshmerga forces during the operation aimed at liberation of the Iraqi settlement of Bashiqa from IS asked the Turkish military deployed at the base near Bashiqa for support,” Yildirim said, as quoted by the Turkish NTV outlet.

  He pointed out that Turkish air forces if necessary may assist in liberation of Mosul adding that the necessary agreement has already been reached.

   Yildirim also said that along with the Iraqi armed forces and the Peshmerga, militia trained at the Bashiqa base by Turkish military is also taking part in the operation.

   On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of a military operation to retake Mosul from Daesh. According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are taking part in the operation, backed by airstrikes carried out by the US-led international coalition.

Peshmerga General Tells Sputnik His Men Are Only 11 Kilometers From Mosul


 Peshmerga forces advance in the east of Mosul to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 17, 2016

   As the Iraqi army and its allies continue their assault against the Daesh stronghold of Mosul, one of the Kurdish Peshmerga commanders has revealed that his men are now only a few kilometers away from the city limits.

   Scores of Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) militants were eliminated by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the Iraqi province of Nineveh as part of the preparations for the assault on Mosul.Peshmerga General Juku Muhammed Kalahi told Sputnik about how his Kurdish troops had liberated several villages.

   “Our forces terminated scores of Daesh members during the liberation of the following villages: Al-Sheikh Khamis, Kazkan and Shaquli. Right now we’re one kilometer away from the town of Bartella,” the general said.

   According to Kalahi, Daesh manpower reserves were depleted during clashes in the province of Nineveh, where the Iraqi military and its allies scored victories in El-Kueir and Al-Khazer several hours ago.

   Earlier a source in the Iraqi security services told Sputnik that today, on October 17, the military and its allies dislodged Daesh forces from the vicinity of Bashiqa – a town located only 12 kilometers away from Mosul.

   Since the Middle Ages, Bartella had been inhabited by Arameans, an early group of Christians who used a language akin to that spoken by Christ; its population of 30,000 was roughly one third Catholic and two thirds Orthodox and boasted churches dating back to the 12th century. However, in August 2014, the city residents fled ahead of invading Daesh forces; its last 12 surviving residents faked conversion to Islam and were able to escape the following month, according to AINA News.

Over 80,000 Troops Involved in Liberation of Iraqi Mosul From Daesh


 Iraqi forces deploy in the area of al-Shourah, some 45 kms south of Mosul, as they advance towards the city to retake it from the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on October 17, 2016

Over 80,000 troops are involved, including engineers and logistical support, in the operation to liberate the city of Mosul in Iraq from the Daesh terrorists, according to media reports.

Tens of thousands of troops are involved in the operation to liberate the city of Mosul in Iraq from the jihadist group Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh), media reported on Monday.

   Over 80,000 troops are involved, including engineers and logistical support, in the operation, The Washington Post reported, citing a commander of Iraqi special forces, Maj. Salam Jassim.

   Mosul, the second biggest Iraqi city, is the main stronghold of Daesh in Iraq. The city was seized by Daesh, a jihadist group outlawed in Russia, in 2014 along with a number of other northern and western Iraqi cities and towns.

Late on Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of the military operation to retake Mosul from Daesh militants. Iraqi troops and their allies, including local Sunni militias, and US-led coalition support are involved in the offensive.

Iraqi Army, Peshmerga Forces Prepare Huge Offensive Against Daesh in Mosul

Iraqi soldiers guard their base in Makhmour, after it was freed from control of Islamic State, south of Mosul, April 17, 2016


As the Iraqi army and its allied Peshmerga units prepare a major offensive on Mosul to flush out Daesh terrorists, Helgurd Hikmet, a representative of the Regional Government of Kurdistan, discussed the details of the upcoming operation with Sputnik.

An estimated 50,000 Iraqi soldiers, backed by 20,000 Peshmerga fighters, 10,000 Turkmens and members of Sunni tribes will take part in the offensive.“The Iraqi army and Sunni tribesmen will be spearheading the offensive, with Peshmerga and Turkmen forces bringing up the rear. Coalition air forces will provide air cover. The Peshmerga said they would not enter the center of Mosul arguing because it just won’t be right for Kurds to take control of an Arab city,” Helgurd Hikmet said.

He added that apart from airstrikes, the US-led coalition would also provide logistical support for the advancing forces.

During their recent meeting in Washington, the foreign ministers of the countries – members of the US-led coalition against Daesh – prioritized the need to liberate Mosul.

Helgurd Hikmet said that the army would need about a year to completely flush out Daesh forces defending the strategic northern city.

“The Peshmerga forces that now control the city’s western, northern and eastern suburbs will be advancing towards the city center. The Iraqi army now controls the southern and southeastern suburbs and the outskirts of the town of Makhmour,” Hikmet explained, adding that the Iraqi army had recently killed one of the leading Daesh field commanders, Omer ash-Shishani.

He also said that said that Americans didn’t like Baghdad’s idea of the Shiite militia taking part in the operation to liberate the predominantly Sunni-populated Mosul.

The Shiite fighters, who earlier took part in operations to liberate Fallujah and many other Iraqi cities, are accused of committing atrocities against the Sunni population, further igniting divisions, which could result in a serious interfaith conflict. Another reason why Washington wants the Shiites to stay away is their close links to Iran.

“On the other hand, the Americans welcome the participation of Turkish-trained Turkmen fighters. Turkey, for its part, is against the participation of Shengal self-defense forces of Yazidis and people linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party, which are banned in Turkey,” Helgurd Hikmet noted.

“The Iraqi army, Peshmerga and other forces need to iron out their differences before the operation to liberate Mosul actually starts,” Hikmet emphasized.

In an interview with Sputnik, Aydin Maruf, the coordinator of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Erbil and a member of the Kurdish parliament in Iraq, said that an operation to drive Daesh militants out of Mosul’s suburbs had already begun.

“What we don’t know yet is when exactly the operation to liberate the city itself is going to start. Before this happens all the participating forces need to reach agreement. We, Turkmens, will certainly take part in that operation because there are more than half a million of our people living there and liberating them is a topmost priority for us,” Aydin Maruf said.

Iraqi Troops Liberate Airbase Near Mosul From Daesh – Authorities

Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces.


Iraqi troops liberated Qayyarah airbase some 60 miles south of Mosul in the northern Nineveh governorate from Daesh militants, the governor Nofal Hammadi said Saturday, as quoted by local media.

      Iraqi forces are carrying out operations in the Nineveh governorate in preparation for an assault on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city that has been under Daesh control since 2014, Al Sumaria TV network reported.

Daesh, which is a militant jihadist group outlawed in many countries, including Russia, overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014 amid the ongoing civil war in Syria.