Iraq Army Claims Small Gains in Mosul Fighting

Special Forces Struggle to Expand Beyond Eastern Fringe

Another week of heavy fighting has resulted in another claim of dubious “progress” for the Iraqi military in the invasion of Mosul, with the latest statement claiming that special forces, the only troops who’ve made it into Mosul in any real numbers, managed to expand into a pair of contested neighborhoods in the city’s east.

The eastern half of Mosul is considered much less valuable than the western half, which is where the bulk of ISIS defenses are. With Iraqi forces only getting limited penetration, and that all in the east, however, ISIS has been able to shift some defensive assets around, slowing the offensive even more.

While the special forces have been relatively effective in their fighting inside the city, Iraqi forces elsewhere have struggled to even get near the city, with ISIS managing to spread invading forces thin, and Iraqi military officials saying a lot of the troops are neither equipped nor trained for urban combat.

Inside the city, a neighborhood here or there is positively limping forward, with Iraqi offiicals saying the special forces are still several kilometers away from the Tigris River, and that they are confident they’ll get to the shore “with the same speed” they’ve seen so far. That speed could well mean several weeks to even get a foothold along the river, with the overall offensive expected to last many more months.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of