On October 15, the joint forces of the US-led coalition, the Iraqi government, the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Kurdish Peshmerga launched the long-awaited military operation to liberate the last ISIS major stronghold in Iraq – Mosul. Since Saturday, Mosul and the nearby areas have been the target of massive shelling and bombing campaigns by the US artillery and the US-led coalition’s air power.
The goal of the first phase of the ongoing offensive is to seccure the northeastern and southern Mosul countryside before storming the city itself.
On Oct. 16, the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division and the PMU liberated the city of Bashiqa from ISIS. The city is located in the northeastern Mosul countryside. The Peshmerga also joined the operation northeast of Mosul. The Kurdish fighters will block ISIS escape routers and receive and screen refugees but not enter the city.
On October 17, the PMU and the Iraqi military continued operations in the area, liberating the Mishraq Sulphur Factory near Kubayah, the Al-Hamdaniya District, Besatiliyah, al-Khazir, the Asyrian village of Nimrud, Hamam ‘Alil and the area of al-Hawd southeast of Mosul city.
The Iraqi Army’s 9th Armored Division are advancing towards Hamam ‘Alil
The Iraqi artillery was pounding ISIS targets near Mosul on October 17
In total about 30,000-40,000 fighters are involved in the operation. The widely promoted by the mainstream media Kurdish Peshmerga force is estimated up to 4,000 fighters – a merely 10% of the ground force. They will not participate in the sotrm of Mosul, securing its western countryside.
The PMU and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) remain the main striking force of the anti-ISIS coalition.
Photos from the Nineveh Plains
Gwer near Mosul
The Iraqi Armed Forces’ 9th Armoured Division at Gwer
The Iraqi Federal Police’s artillery units strike ISIS targetts in Mosul’s outskirts