Iraqi ground troops backed by US airstrikes and artillery fire moved into the village of Kharaib Jabr today, in the area south of Mosul, and continue to advance toward the nearby village of Haj Ali, their intended target. No significant fighting was reported.
Haj Ali is along the Tigris River, and just across from a key airfield the Iraqi military intends to capture for use in the offensive against Mosul itself. The airfield adjoins ISIS-held Qayara, and the offensive against the villages seems a prelude to moving against Qayara.
As with a lot of Iraq’s offensives around Mosul, however, it didn’t amount to taking much territory or doing any serious fighting. The Iraqi troops deployed around Mosul have struggled when facing resistance, and have at times faced significant desertions.
The US, for its part, has urged Iraq to put the push “on hold” recently, saying they believe the Iraqi military’s massive problems with logistics, unable to keep the troops around Mosul reliably supplied, means they have no real chance of taking the city yet, and should focus on improving before such an attack.
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