Iraq suspends operations east of Mosul 'to spare civilians'

Iraq suspends operations east of Mosul 'to spare civilians'
The IS group's use of 'human shields' and tunnels forces Iraqi forces to rethink tactics in eastern Mosul.
2 min read
09 November, 2016
Iraq's army has reportedly taken heavy losses in the battle for Mosul [AFP]
Iraq has put a temporary hold on operations in the eastern part of Islamic State group-held Mosul, a military source said Wednesday.

The country's anti-terrorism agency stressed that this does not mean a wthdrawal of troops, a source who spoke to Anadolu said.

"Anti-terrorism forces remain concentrated in parts of the city's al-Intisar and al-Samah al-Thaniya districts and in the state radio and television complex in eastern Mosul," an unnamed Iraqi army captain told the Turkish news agency.

He explained that the pause was enforced due to the IS group using civilians as "human shields" and their ongoing use of tunnels under the city.

According to the same source, Iraq's anti-terror forces have taken significant losses, both in equipment and personnel.

Without providing a figure, the military captain said that the deaths were the result of IS "ambushes, roadside explosives and suicide bombings".

The IS group have also taken huge damage, he added.

"Daesh [IS] has also sustained large human and material losses," he added. "But this hasn't affected the group's morale due to its heavy reliance on mercenaries."

The military official also expressed disappointment with the 60-nation US-led coalition that is backing the assault on the IS group's Iraqi 'capital'.

"A request was sent to the army's general command to discuss the inadequacy of air cover with US-led coalition commanders," he said.

Iraqi forces and their coalition partners are currently locked in a wide-ranging operation to dislodge the IS group from Mosul since October 18.

The militants captured the northern Iraqi city in mid-2014, with the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi later declaring his 'caliphate' in one of the city's mosques.