As Iraqi forces continue to try to make gains in western Mosul, a big obstacle is that the side of the city they control, east of the Tigris River, is totally disconnected, as a result of US airstrikes having destroyed all five bridges that once existed. Today, Iraqi forces managed to capture on such bridge.
Or at least the ruins thereof. No longer able to ferry traffic across the river, the hope among Iraqi officials is that they will be able to put some sort of ramp along the chunks of bridge that yet remain as a way of getting an actual supply line connecting their attacking forces in the west with the city’s east.
That appears to have been a plan for some time now, as US forces had been training Iraqi troops on rebuilding bridges further downriver ahead of the offensive, likely for this very eventuality. How easily they will be able to get something useful in the place of the old bridge remains to be seen.
The capture of eastern Mosul took about three months, but the western half is both the more populous and the more heavily guarded by ISIS forces, which suggests that even with a bridge on their side, the fighting over what remains of Mosul could take a long, long time.
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