Iraqi military progress slows in Mosul

Iraqi military progress slows in Mosul
As the campaign on Fallujah mounts, Iraqi military progress has slowed south of Mosul.
2 min read
22 June, 2016
Iraqi forces have been fighting IS both in Fallujah and Mosul [AFP]
Iraq military progress towards the south of Mosul has slowed a week after the campaign against the Islamic State group launched in the province. The international coalition has, in the meantime, stepped up their attacks on IS targets in the province.

"The recent manoeuvres launched by the Iraqi army in the south of Mosul... did not achieve substantial progress," an officer told The New Arab. Iraqi troops and allied militias have only managed to progress through some villages in border areas, he added.  

These villages do not have a strong concentration of Islamic State group fighters.  

Iraqi forces are attempting to reach the town of Qayyarah, south of Mosul, and the town of Sharqat, north of Salahuddin province. but have been met by strong resistance from the Islamic State group, the officer added.  

The officer added that IS defences and fortifications had prevented the progress of Iraqi forces and limited the effect of the Iraqi army’s shelling.

Meanwhile, the international alliance has stepped up airstrikes on IS sites in Mosul.  

"The coalition aircraft carried out strikes in the neighbourhoods of al-Hadba, Sukr and al-Andulus to the east of Mosul," said a local source.

This local source said that the bombing killed around 40 IS militants, including a number of the group's leaders.  

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ignored US advice to focus on Mosul last month, when he declared the launch of the Fallujah operation - but he vowed on Friday that the liberation of the northern city was "very near".

The embattled premier has promised that IS would be defeated nationwide by the end of 2016, but an ongoing offensive in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, has achieved only modest gains so far.

Fallujah, where US forces suffered some of their worst losses since the Vietnam War, looms large in modern extremist mythology, but Mosul is a much larger conurbation.