Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 187, Apr 21, 2017


The Iraqi forces were involved in heavy fighting across west Mosul. There were clashes between the Islamic State and Golden Division in the Siha neighborhood, and with the police in the Old City district. The Golden Division has been making steady progress up the middle and western section of the city, while the police have been stuck in the Old City for more than a month. The narrow streets, dense layout of buildings, and Islamic State defenses have all held up taking the district.


There were more civilian casualties reported in Mosul. A car bomb went off in Zuhur in liberated east Mosul leaving 4 dead and 14 wounded. This was the first successful vehicle bomb in the east since February, and highlighted the fact that IS still has active cells in that half of the city. Air strikes in three pars of west Mosul left 17 fatalities and 30 injured. The Iraqi and Coalition forces have said they want to protect civilians, but the increase use of airpower and artillery along with the layout of east Mosul, and the use of human shields have all contributed to rising civilian deaths. That was the basis for a story by the Los Angeles Times that noted a huge spike in reported civilian casualties in the last few months based on data collected by Airwars.

Reuters had two pieces on the good and bad side of life in east Mosul today. At a park in the east, around 2,000 people were out and about picnicking while kids played in a public waterfall. Families said that they could have never done things like that under the Islamic State. On the other hand, 100 former state prisoner workers held a protest complaining that they had not been paid for 6 months. Government workers have to go through a vetting process to get back on the payroll. A man said there were no jobs and reconstruction going on, and he was afraid Baghdad would ignore the city again. The people of Mosul have been incredibly resilient as shown by the scene in the park. At the same time, there are no services, limited jobs, and no real rebuilding going on. The city is still a warzone so some of that is to be expected, but the government will have a huge task putting the city back together again.

In the third week of April more displaced were returning rather than leaving from camps. In three camps east of Mosul more than twice as many families left as arrived according to the United Nations. The vast majority were going to east Mosul, including many people from west Mosul. Overall though, several thousand people were still coming out of the city everyday. This is part of the constant ebb and flow of displacement caused by the fighting.

SOURCES

Abdelaziz, Salma, McWhinnie, Scott and Paton, Nick, “This is life inside Mosul’s Old City,” CNN, 4/21/17

Aboulenein, Ahmed, “At Mosul waterfalls, Iraqis savor small joys of post-Islamic State life,” Reuters, 4/21/17

Baghdad Post, "Dozens killed, injured in airstrikes on Mosul's right bank," 4/21/17
- “Intensive clashes between Iraqi security forces, ISIS in Mosul,” 4/21/17
- “Iraqi forces continue push on ISIS in right bank of Mosul,” 4/21/17

Deutsche Welle, “Mosul: The battle for Iraq’s future,” 4/21/17

Hennessy-Fiske, Molly and Hennigan, W.J., “Civilian casualties from airstrikes appear on the rise. Is it a sign of a scorched-earth policy under Trump?” Los Angeles Times, 4/21/17

Iraq News App, "18 people killed and injured in a car bomb explosion east of Mosul," 4/21/17

Laessing, Ulf, “Resentment festers in Mosul: just ask Saddam Hussein,” Reuters, 4/21/17

Miller, Anna Lekas, “Iraqis displaced in Mosul fight sickened by toxic oil fires,” UPI, 4/21/17

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 20 April 2017,” 4/20/17


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