Iraqi forces gain more ground in push to retake Mosul
Iraqi government forces have managed to liberate more areas around the northern city of Mosul as part of a massive offensive aimed at retaking the entire city from Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced that security forces had liberated Qala region and taken control of Janin military base east of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad.
Commander of the Mosul Operations, Major General Najm al Jabouri, also said his forces established control over the villages of Saf al-Tuth and Nana on Wednesday, following a fierce exchange of gunfire with Daesh snipers.
Additionally, Iraqi armed forces welcomed more than 1,000 Iraqi refugees from the recently-liberated village of Shoura, located 40 kilometers south of Mosul.
The government forces are going to transport the internally-displaced people to a processing center and refugee camps within the next few days.
Peshmerga forces not to enter Mosul
The prime minister of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region said Peshmerga forces will not enter Mosul in order to avoid the danger of a “potential ethnic conflict.”
Nechirvan Barzani, however, issued a veiled warning to the Iraqi central government, suggesting that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) wanted to take over the administration of Mosul after it was liberated.
Mosul is of paramount significance to the KRG, he said, warning that the city would become the birthplace of another terrorist group if it is not administered well after liberation from the grip of Daesh extremists.
“We had al-Qaeda in Iraq yesterday. We have Daesh today and tomorrow we will have another group if Mosul is not going to have a good administrating system,” Barzani said on Wednesday.
“What is really important and needs discussion is what happens in Mosul after Daesh,” he said.
Kurdish forces have used the void to take over the control of several regions in Iraq, including the oil-rich Kirkuk, after Takfiri militants were ousted.
Some critics have partly blamed Kurdish forces for the fall of Mosul after they allegedly withdrew as Takfiri terrorists closed in on Iraq’s second city.
Hashad Shaabi to open new front
Furthermore, Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told al-Sumaria television network on Wednesday that pro-government Popular Mobilization Units are going to open a new front in Mosul in the coming days.
Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Iraqi Badr Organization, also stated that Popular Mobilization Units are in no rush to launch an offensive against Tal Afar west of Mosul, stating that the volunteer forces aim to enlist people from various walks of life for the operation.
There are reports that about 50,000 Iraqi ground troops are involved in the Mosul offensive, including 30,000 army troops, 10,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the remaining 10,000 from police and Popular Mobilization Units.
International aid agencies have warned that the military operation to retake Mosul has displaced about 10,600 people from their homes.
“Assessments have recorded a significant number of female-headed households, raising concerns around the detention or capture of men and boys,” Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Lise Grande, stated on Tuesday.
She noted that a huge exodus of people from Mosul could occur within the next few days, warning that Daesh terrorists could resort to “rudimentary chemical weapons” as part of efforts to hold up Iraqi army and federal police units.
Daesh militants in possession of Turkish, Saudi arms
The official website of the People’s Mobilization Units, quoting pro-government commander Udai al-Khadran, reported on Wednesday that Iraqi forces have confiscated Turkish and Saudi munitions and military equipment from Daesh militants around Mosul.
Khadran said Emirati and Kuwaiti businessmen regularly pay for brand new pickup trucks crossing the Turkish border into Daesh-held areas in the northern and western parts of Iraq, and Turkey provides the extremists with various types of ammunition.
The People’s Mobilization Units went on to say that Turkish military experts continue to train Daesh militants, and the country’s artillery units are protecting Daesh-controlled regions against any counter-terrorism operation.