Entering Seventh Month of Invasion, Iraqi Troops Still Stuck in Mosul’s ‘Old City’

Little Territory Changes Hands in Door-to-Door Fighting

It’s now been six months since the mid-October declaration of the beginning of the Iraqi invasion of Mosul. Several predicted deadlines for victory have come and gone, and the fighting is now largely centered in the “Old City” area of western Mosul, which Iraqi troops arrived in about a month ago.

While officials are claiming some small gains near the ancient al-Nuri Mosque, the situation is largely unchanged in the past month, with intense, door-to-door fighting providing little opportunity for noticeable territory to change hands, and weeks often going by on the same couple of city blocks.

The one thing that has changed in the last month is that a massive number of additional civilians have managed to get out of western Mosul, making dangerous escape attempts into an uncertain future, and many struggling to find a place in overcrowded refugee camps, which were never expected to accept anywhere near this many people.

Iraq has presented this past month as slow-going because of fear of inflicting civilian casualties, though it has also likely been the deadliest month for civilians of the offensive, with many hundreds killed in US airstrikes, and others caught in the cross-fire of fighting.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.