22 November 2017
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MOSUL, Iraq –  Iraqi commanders said Saturday their forces are "tens of meters" away from defeating the Islamic State group in Mosul, a day after a major counterattack by the militants. The Joint Operations Command "our units are still continuing to advance... Not much is left before our forces reach the river." Iraqi officials have made similar pronouncements over the past week as security forces have bottled the militants up in a sliver of the Old City along the Tigris…
The Islamic State faces defeat.  But a humanitarian crisis looms for survivors, many of them children, who are suffering from dehydration and malnutrition in northern Iraq. U.S-backed forces have entered the final stages of the Mosul offensive to retake the second-largest city.  In addition, the fight for refugees to flee the city is complicated by the threat of suicide bombings. ISIS controls less than a square mile of land in the city, according to the Associated Press.  “None of the previous…
When ISIS fighters blew up Mosul's grand mosque in June, where its leader famously proclaimed the creation of a caliphate, the move was seen as an act of desperation by a group on its last legs.  Indeed, Iraqi officials were quick to declare their battle against the self-proclaimed Islamic State is over, with the country's prime minister Haider al-Abadi writing on Twitter, "We are seeing the end of the fake Daesh state," using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.  Still, that…
WASHINGTON -- U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are close to tearing the city of Mosul out of ISIS' stranglehold. Once they do, the sprawling city will join dozens of other towns and villages that need to be rebuilt virtually from the ground up. A vast swath of northern Iraq is reeling from violence and destruction that has forced almost 900,000 people to flee their homes in the last year alone. Efforts to bring those Iraqis back home are robust -- and unique; the United…

The battle for Mosul in maps Wednesday, 28 June 2017 13:23

In June 2014, when the leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a global caliphate, he did it from Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Isis rapidly expanded its territory in Iraq and Syria throughout that year, but has since been gradually pushed back, partly due to US-led airstrikes. Losing Mosul now could spell the end of the jihadi group’s ability to control large swaths of Iraq.The long-awaited operation to take back Mosul began on 16 October, involving a coalition of more than 30,000 troops…
SOUTH OF MOSUL (Reuters) - The killers made no attempt to hide the bodies of the 15 men they shot dead by the side of a road cutting across wheat fields in northern Iraq. Blindfolded and bound, the victims lay decomposing in plain sight of the occasional car that drives along this route scattered with spent bullet casings. Two of the men had been marched a short way into the field, where one was apparently forced to kneel before being…
(Beirut) – The civilian death toll from a series of apparent Iraqi Security Force or United States-led coalition attacks between February and April 2017 suggests that the forces took inadequate precautions to avoid civilian casualties and that further investigation is needed, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch documented seven attacks that resulted in at least 44 civilian deaths in five populated neighborhoods of west Mosul controlled by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS).  Human Rights Watch analysis of satellite imagery…
Evidence Points to Killings by Government Forces (Beirut) – At least 26 bodies of blindfolded and handcuffed men have been found in government held areas in and around Mosul since the operation to retake the city began in October 2016, Human Rights Watch said today.   In 15 of the cases, local armed forces told a foreign journalist that the men were extrajudicially killed by government security forces who had them in custody under suspicion of Islamic State (also known as ISIS)…
The details are eerily familiar: a family outing, a suicide bomber, more than a dozen people — many of them children — killed in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State. An explosion early Tuesday at an ice cream parlor in Baghdad shared many of the same heart-wrenching characteristics of last week’s attack at an arena in Manchester, England. And that was just the start of the violence on Tuesday in a city where these kinds of terrorist attacks…
BAGHDAD — While Iraq’s conventional military has been slowly clearing the Islamic State group from inside Mosul’s complex urban terrain, Iraq’s Iran-backed Shiite paramilitary forces have been working their way through less glamorous territory: vast deserts west and south of the city that run along and across Iraq’s border with Syria. The territory, dotted with small villages and dusty roads, is home to key supply lines into neighboring Syria and connecting Iraq’s north to the capital Baghdad. Control of the…
IRBIL, Iraq — The U.S. Army failed to properly keep tracks of hundreds of humvees, tens of thousands of rifles and other pieces of military equipment that were sent to Iraq, according to a government audit from 2016 that was obtained by Amnesty International and released Wednesday. The price of the equipment — meant to equip the Iraqi army, Shiite militias and the Kurdish peshmerga — totaled more than $1 billion. “This audit provides a worrying insight into the U.S. Army’s flawed — and…

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