After spending much of last week bragging that their invasion of western Mosul was “ahead of schedule,” the Iraqi military’s advance has slowed to a crawl over the weekend, as a sprint through the countryside has given way to intense urban warfare now that they’ve hit the southern districts of the city.
Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi described his special forces as going “very slowly,” facing car bombings, snipers, and dozens of armed ISIS drones. Saadi also complained the lack of a grid system for roads in western Mosul made their roadblocks less effective.
The problems all mirror those of the invasion of eastern Mousl, which took some three months, and while the military leadership is still saying they are optimistic about the fight going faster once they shorten their supply lines,the reality is the fight could be just as long in the west.
In addition to putting growing humanitarian pressure on the ISIS-held half of the city, a long fight could be bad for eastern Mosul as well, as reports in recent weeks are that the government has been so ineffective at restoring basic humanitarian supplies that ;people were taking rafts across the Tigris River to import goods from the ISIS-side of the city.
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