Iraq Troops Haven’t Advanced in Days as ISIS Fortifies Mosul

Heavy Fighting Takes 10 Days to Capture a Few Hundred Meters

by Jason Ditz, December 19, 2016

Iraq’s recent estimates that the offensive in the ISIS-held city of Mosul will take a couple of more months appear to have been wildly optimistic, with constant heavy fighting in eastern Aleppo amounting to a lot of casualties and little territory changing hands.

Indeed, the most recent reports out of Mosul are that it took 10 days of intense fighting to take a few hundred meters of neighborhood, and after that, several more days of fighting amounted to no additional territory changing hands.

In contrast to previous offensives into ISIS-held cities, officials say ISIS has heavily fortified pretty much the entire city, and continues to do so, meaning there are no “weak points” to exploit to try to carve away territory in short order.

A lot of the reports from Iraqi military personnel have suggested that while the special forces are doing okay, albeit heavily battered by all the fighting as the first troops to even reach the city, most of the rest of the Iraqi forces are woefully under-prepared and ill-equipped for the urban fighting they are finding themselves in.

Officials are also warning that with casualties much higher than they’d initially expected, the rate of attrition in the Mosul fight could badly hamstring the Iraqi military for years to come. Even in “winning” the city, the cost will be extremely high.

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