The smoke indicates that the days are now numbered for ISIS in Mosul; and it also indicates that the Iraqis in nearby towns like Erbil will have to suffer from hazardous and even toxic gases from the burning oil.
The ISIS has resorted to human shield before and now it has turned to smoke shield in a hope of impairing the visibility of coalition bomber jets and of breaking the morale of local Iraqis.
“It has a very bad impact on the region and the people of Erbil, because the smoke is continuously spreading. It will lead to bad health, and maybe people will get different diseases,” says Shahin.
Environmental experts do take this issue seriously.
“Smoke like this leaves negative impacts on Erbil residents and its surroundings especially for kids and pregnant women, as well as negative impact on Kurdistan environment. It is estimated that such negative effects will linger on for some years and we appeal for our allies and international organizations to do something to put out this fire,” says Goran As’ad, an Iraqi environmental expert.
It’s not the first time for ISIL militants ever to resort to burning oil as their resistance.
Before retreating from Qayarrah, the ISIS militants had burned oil wells and poured crude onto streets to create black and sticky streams.
For Iraqi and coalition forces, the ongoing preparation goes on without hesitation, no matter what the ISIS militants might think of as their last resistance.
Once the operation of liberating Mosul goes underway, it will be of full force from the Iraqi government forces, the international coalition forces led by the US and Peshmergas forces.
To them, an ISIS defeat is almost inevitable.