With Iraqi officials presenting the invasion of western Mosul is imminent, ISIS has reportedly expelled the civilian population from residential areas along the Tigris River, deploying weaponry and positioning snipers in the area in preparation for trying to prevent the Iraqi Army from crossing the river.
That may not happen immediately, however, as the Iraqi Army today retracted their claimed victory in eastern Mosul, conceding that they didn’t really have total control over that side of the city, which they’ve been invading for the past three months.
Iraqi officials termed the initial claim of victory a “mistake,” though they did not elaborate on how close they believe they are to totally taking control of that side of Mosul. Officials had previously claimed to control the overwhelming majority of eastern Mosul for weeks.
Western Mosul is the more populous, and more heavily defended side of the city for ISIS forces, and Iraq’s military so far has not advanced on the western side of the river to the city limits. Crossing the river is expected to be their near-term goal, though with US airstrikes having destroyed all the bridges, it’s likely to be a hassle.