Iraqi military officials today announced the capture of the tiny village of Kabrouk, near the major ISIS city of Mosul, in an offensive backed by heavy US airstrikes. Despite presenting it as a “battle,” reports suggest little resistance in the village, which was sparsely held to begin with.
This marks the fifth mostly insignificant village in the Makhmour area to be captured since a military offensive in that area began in March. The other four villages were captured at the start of the offensive, which stalled almost immediately amid reports of looting and mass desertion of troops.
The official military statement presented today’s victory as part of a “swift operation” against ISIS, though in practice the campaign has been extremely slow going, with the Iraqi military continuing to face flagging morale and fleeing at the first sign of resistance.
Officially, the Iraqi government has insisted that not only do they intend to capture Mosul this year, but to expel ISIS from all Iraqi territory outright by then. In practice, analysts and even some officials quoted privately concede that is extremely unrealistic, and intermittent captures of tiny villages certainly don’t give the impression that Iraq has the sort of momentum to contest a city of over a million people.
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