Losses Near Mosul, But ISIS Stalls Iraq’s Offensive Against Tikrit

No Progress in Tikrit in Days as Snipers Hold Ground

Kurdish officials are continuing to trumpet the territorial shifts in northern Iraq as a major shift in the war, having retaken a number of sparsely guarded villages in the frontier between Kurdistan and the ISIS-held city of Mosul.

These smaller towns and villages tend to change hands with comparatively little effort, while major cities of import, like Tikrit, involve much more elaborate operations, as the one being carried out by Iraqi and Iranian troops.

That battle’s not going so well, with ISIS snipers and an elaborate collection of explosive devices keeping the Iraqi forces more or less stalled on the outskirts of the city, with no measurable progress in days.

Iraqi officials are spinning this as “waiting for reinforcements,” but considering they brought tens of thousands of fighters, the need for reinforcement at all is a sign of a setback.

Kurdish forces are also reporting ISIS is increasingly aggressive in the north, despite not trying to retake those villages, accusing them of using makeshift chlorine bombs as a sort of crude chemical warfare.

The chlorine bombs have not proven to be particularly deadly so far, being used in the open air, but do seem to be damaging to morale, with fighters being much more scared by the chemical nature of the weapons.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.