Iraq’s military leadership and the forces on the ground appear to be wildly split on how the invasion of Western Mosul is going, as just a day after one of their top generals insisted that ISIS leadership was broken and the offensive was picking up, troops were once again describing their offensive as practically halted in the face of “stiff resistance.”
Troops described the situation much as they did over the course of last week, with ISIS snipers out in force preventing them from advancing along main roads, and mortar shells from ISIS keeping them struggling along. That, on top of rain, has officials saying the offensive is officially “halted” for the time being.
This has been a recurring problem with Iraq in its offensives in Mosul, as many of the invading troops are not trained for urban combat, and when they run up against a big obstacle, it can derail the advance, sometimes for weeks on end.
So while commanders are predicting a win by the end of the month, the reality is that the capture of eastern Mosul took over 100 days, and western Mosul is more heavily defended by ISIS forces. The prevalence of snipers around Mosul means this fight could still be dragged out for a long time.