Officials Warn Offensive Will Take 'A Long Time'
With ISIS having committed most of its defenses to the larger western half of Mosul, Iraq committed a lot of its special forces in the invasion toward the eastern side, with the expectation that they could take the whole eastern shore of the Tigris River before moving west into what was left.
With Iraqi forces trickling into the eastern districts, however, ISIS is not simply staying put and waiting for that to happen, but rather shifting significant amounts of their defensive forces into eastern Mosul to resist the offensive.
That was an eventuality that Iraqi forces appear to have been totally unprepared for, with indications that there are no offensive forces anywhere near western Mosul, and nothing to prevent ISIS from concentrating its defensive forces on the limited portions of the city facing direct attack.
While officials say the recent defenses in western Mosul were weakening, they say this influx is likely to bring more of ISIS’ best, most battle-hardened fighters into the area, potentially dramatically slowing the Iraqi military’s advance, which was already struggling with a broadening front line and only a fraction of Iraqi troops prepared and equipped for the urban combat that was inevitable to invading such a major city.
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