Iraqi Troops Enter Mosul From North, Facing Intense Urban Combat

First Troops Reach Tigris River But Fight Remains Slow Going

by Jason Ditz, January 08, 2017

Months into the invasion of Mosul, Iraqi forces have finally managed to reach the northern edge of the city’s western half, pushing into the area and facing immediate and heavy urban warfare, with ISIS forces increasingly adopting a strategy of letting troops into a small area then attacking them from all sides.

Still, this is progress as previously only the Iraqi special forces had even reached Mosul, and they were in the southwest of the city. Some Iraqi troops have even managed to get briefly to the edge of the Tigris River, which divides the city in half, though control over the west is still very much the focus and they haven’t made any effort to get into the eastern, most populous, half of the city.

Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city, and has been under ISIS control for over two years now. It is by far the largest city remaining under ISIS control, and with Iraqi and US officials touting the invasion for months ahead of time, they had ample time to set up defenses.

The invasion has gone gruelingly slow, with Iraqi forces getting a foothold and stalling to a virtual halt for weeks on end, with US officials insisting it was a deliberate break in the offensive. Since the resumption, Iraqi forces have captured some more of the west, but are still enduring heavy casualties in trying to advance anywhere.

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