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Battle of Mosul (2016–17)

  (Redirected from Battle of Mosul (2016–present))

The Battle of Mosul (2016–17) (Arabic: معركة الموصل‎‎, Ma‘rakat al-Mawṣil; Central Kurdish: شەڕی مووسڵ‎, Şeriy Mûsil) was a major military campaign launched by the Iraqi Government forces with allied militias, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and international forces to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),[63][64][65] which had seized the city in June 2014.[66] During the military intervention against ISIL, Iraqi and Peshmerga forces had already made unsuccessful attempts to retake the city in 2015 and again in 2016, despite limited gains.

The offensive, dubbed Operation "We Are Coming, Nineveh" (قادمون يا نينوى; Qadimun Ya Naynawa),[67][68] began on 16 October 2016, with forces besieging ISIL-controlled areas in the Nineveh Governorate surrounding Mosul,[69][70][71] and continued with Iraqi troops and Peshmerga fighters engaging ISIL on three fronts outside Mosul, going from village to village in the surrounding area in the largest deployment of Iraqi troops since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[72] The battle was also the world's single largest military operation in nearly 15 years.[clarification needed][44]

At dawn on 1 November 2016, Iraqi Special Operations Forces entered the city from the east.[73] Met with fierce fighting, the government advance into the city was slowed by elaborate defenses and by the presence of civilians,[74] but the Iraqi Prime Minister declared "full liberation of eastern side of Mosul" on 24 January 2017.[75] Iraqi troops began their offensive to recapture western Mosul on 19 February 2017.[76]

The Battle of Mosul was concurrent with the Battle of Sirte (2016) in Libya, and with the Raqqa campaign conducted by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against ISIL's capital city and stronghold in Syria.[77]

On 9 July 2017, the Iraqi Prime Minister arrived in Mosul to announce the victory over ISIL, and an official declaration of victory was proclaimed on 10 July.[78][9][10][79] However, heavy clashes continued in the Old City for almost another 2 weeks.[80][13] It was estimated that removing the explosives from Mosul and repairing the city over the next 5 years would require USD 50 billion (2017 USD),[81] while Mosul's Old City alone would cost about USD 1 billion to repair.[10]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

 
Map of the territorial control during the 2016 Mosul offensive, as of August 2016

General backgroundEdit

Mosul is Iraq's second most populous city. It fell to 800–1,500 ISIL militants in June 2014, because of the largely Sunni population's deep distrust of the primarily Shia Iraqi government, and its corrupt armed forces.[29][82] It was in the Great Mosque in Mosul that ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the beginning of ISIL's self-proclaimed "caliphate" which spans Iraq and Syria.[82] The original population of 2.5 million has fallen to approximately 1.5 million after two years of ISIL rule. The city was once extremely diverse, with ethnic minorities including Armenians, Yazidis, Assyrian, Turkmen, and Shabak people, all of whom have suffered and continue to suffer considerably under the (majority Sunni Arab) Islamic State.[83] Mosul remains the last stronghold of ISIL in Iraq,[84] and the anticipated offensive to reclaim it was promoted as the "mother of all battles".[85][86][87][88]

Preparations for the battleEdit

In the weeks leading up to the ground offensive, the US-led CJTF – OIR coalition bombed ISIL targets, and the Iraqi Army made gradual advances on the city.[72] Royal Air Force's Reaper drones, Typhoons, and Tornados targeted "rocket launchers, ammunition stockpiles, artillery pieces and mortar positions" in the 72 hours before the ground assault began.[89] Leaflets dropped on the city by the Iraqi military advised young male residents to "rise up" against ISIL when the battle began.[84] To prepare defenses against the assault, ISIL operatives dug 4 m2 holes around the city, which they planned to fill with burning oil to reduce visibility[72] and slow advances.[26] They also built hundreds of elaborate tunnels in the villages surrounding Mosul, rigged with explosives and booby-traps, and laid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines along the roads.[90] There was considerable concern that ISIL might employ chemical weapons against soldiers and civilians.[91]

According to Iraqi sources, the assault towards Mosul was being waged from Al-Khazer axis (east of Mosul), Mosul Dam (northern axis), Baashiqa axis (eastern axis), Al-Qayyarah axis (southern axis), and Talul el-Baj- Al-Khadr axis (southwestern axis).[92]

Forces involved in the offensiveEdit

 
U.S. Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force, at Qayyarah Airfield West, 22 September 2016

About 3,000–5,000 ISIL fighters were estimated to be in Mosul city, according to the United States Department of Defense.[93] Other estimates ranged as low as 2,000 and high as 12,000 ISIL fighters.[29][31] Mosul Eye estimated approximately 8,000–9,000 fighters loyal to ISIL, with "half of them... highly trained, and the rest... either teenagers or not well trained. About ten percent of the fighters are foreign (Arabs and non-Arabs). The rest are Iraqis. Most are from Nineveh’s townships and districts."[94] Prior to the start of the battle, in late September 2016, it was estimated that around 20,000 ISIL fighters were living in Mosul,[95] many of whom later fled the city to Syria and Ar-Raqqah, when Iraqi forces began to besiege Mosul.

The Iraqi-led coalition was initially estimated by CNN to have 94,000 members,[96] but this number was later revised upward to 108,500;[27] 54,000 to 60,000 Iraqi security forces (ISF) soldiers, 16,000 Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) fighters (also referred to as PMU), and 40,000 Peshmerga (including approximately 200 Iranian Kurdish female fighters from the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK)[97] are deployed in the battle.[25][26] The Iraqi and Peshmerga forces deployed for the Mosul operation were estimated to have outnumbered the ISIL militants present by 10-to-1.[44]

Among the PMF units, the Nineveh Plain Protection Units composed of Assyrians are among the paramilitary forces in the government coalition.[98][99] Shia militias, including several brigades of the paramilitary organization Hashd al-Shaabi, the Peace Companies, Kata'ib Hezbollah, the League of the Righteous, the Badr Organization, Saraya Ashura, Saraya Khorasani, Kata'ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Turkmen Brigades also took part.[100][101] The Ezidi community of the Sinjar region contributed the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ) and Êzîdxan Women's Units (YJÊ),[102] which are operating in concert with Sunni Arab Shammar tribal militias and People's Defence Forces (HPG) of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[103] Other Assyrian forces involved in the planned offensive includes the Nineveh Plain Forces (NPF) and Dwekh Nawsha, who are allied to the Peshmerga.[104][105]

 
Peshmerga soldiers prepare to conduct a combined arms live-fire exercise with an Italian instructor near Erbil, on 12 October 2016.

An international coalition of 60 nations, led by the United States, is supporting Iraq's war against ISIL, providing logistical and air support, intelligence, and advice.[106] The international coalition forces are headquartered 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Mosul at Qayyarah Airfield West (or Q-West) in Qayyarah, which was retaken from ISIL in June.[107] About 560 U.S. troops from the 101st Airborne Division were deployed to Q-West for the battle, including command and control elements, a security detachment, an airfield operations team, and logistics and communications specialists.[108] The U.S. deployed HIMARS rocket launchers and M777 howitzers, manned by the 101st's 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the Golf Company, 526th Brigade Support Battalion. The French army deployed four CAESAR howitzers and 150 to 200 soldiers at Qayyarah, with 600 more French troops announced at the end of September.[109] An additional 150 French soldiers are in Erbil, east of Mosul, training Peshmerga.[101] The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, with a squadron of 24 Rafale M jets, was deployed from Toulon to the Syrian coast to support the operation against ISIL through airstrikes and reconnaissance missions; 12 other Rafale jets are operating out of French Air Force bases in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).[110][111] 80 Australian special forces soldiers and 210 Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) soldiers were also deployed to assist the Peshmerga. In addition, the Canadian Forces 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment was also reported to be in the area, working to intercept and relay ISIL communications, while a Role 2 Canadian Army field hospital with 60 personnel has been set up to treat Peshmerga casualties.[112][113]

 
An Iraqi soldier during a course on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training at Camp Taji. Coalition forces have expressed fears ISIL may use chemical weapons during the Battle of Mosul.

The Ba'ath loyalists group, known to be led by Saddam Hussein's former vice president Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, issued a statement before the start of operations calling for the people of the city to start an uprising against ISIL and announced that they will fight the "terrorist organization."[114][115]

Timeline of the battleEdit

2016Edit

October: Initial advancesEdit

16–17 October
 
A U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin conducts a fire mission at Qayyarah Airfield West, in support of the Iraqi security forces' push toward Mosul, 17 October 2016.

On 16 October 2016, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the beginning of the assault to recapture the city of Mosul.[71] Officials reported howitzers firing on ISIL targets later that day.[69] The main assault began on 17 October at approximately 6am,[84] with shelling and the arrival of armored vehicles to the front lines.[116] The Peshmerga in the Khazir region, east of Mosul, started the ground assault by advancing on ISIL-held villages from three fronts, while Iraqi security forces advanced from the south.[117] Iraqi troops advanced on the Bartella area east of Mosul while ISIL fighters fired mortars at Peshmerga.[118] The President of KRG, Massoud Barzani, said that Peshmerga and Iraqi government fighters retook 200 square kilometers (80 square miles) from ISIL on the first day of fighting.[119] Iraqi government officials reported that "heavy losses of life and equipment" were inflicted upon ISIL fighters in the Hamdaniya district southeast of Mosul. ISIL fighters who were wounded in the battle were reported to have been bussed towards its Syrian headquarters of Raqqa for medical aid.[25] The anti-ISIL coalition destroyed 52 targets during the day.[120] Family members of ISIL fighters fled from Mosul to the village of Nawran due to the shelling. It was also reported that some fighters had started shaving their beards and were getting rid of their Afghan uniforms.[121] ISIL was also reported to have evacuated and shifted its headquarters from the west side of Mosul to its east side.[122] A bridge into Mosul known as the "Freedom Bridge" was destroyed. Peshmerga sources blamed ISIL for its destruction, while ISIL claimed it was destroyed by airstrikes.[123]

18 October

On 18 October, the Iraqi government declared that twenty villages near Mosul were captured from ISIL in the first 24 hours of fighting by the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces.[124] On the southern front, Iraqi troops retook several villages near Qayyarah, including al-Sirt, Bajwaniya, al-Hud and al-Mashraf, and parts of the al-Hamdaniya District southeast of Mosul. Iraqi Federal Police also regained control of 56 oilfields in the Qayyarah district.[125] According to reports, the Peshmerga met little resistance on the eastern front, while Iraqi and PMF fighters coming from the south were facing tougher resistance from ISIL.[126]

The coalition strategy was reported to be to encircle Mosul completely, after which Iraqi troops would advance into the city-center.[127] Early in the day on 18 October, Iraqi forces in the east came close to Qaraqosh (Bakhdida), once the largest Assyrian town in Iraq, and fighters in the south were closing in on Hammam al-'Alil.[120] Iraqi Army forces later stormed Qaraqosh and fought with ISIL fighters who remained holed up.[128][129][130] The Iraqi and Peshmerga advance had been slowed down during the same day due to suicide bombers, roadside IEDs and oil fires. In order to eliminate any ISIL presence completely from the villages on the outskirts of the city, they were carrying out street-by-street search operations.[131][132] The Peshmerga later paused their advance while the Iraqi Army continued its advance.[133]

 
Iraqi security forces transport two BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to tactical assembly areas with assistance from the 313th Movement Control Battalion forward element, on 18 October 2016, near Makhmur, Iraq

Pro-government fighters in the south of Mosul were battling pockets of ISIL fighters and snipers as they tried to reclaim the village of Abbasi,[134] and expected to soon take control of the village of Zawiya.[135] Fighting resumed in the village of Kani Harami, which was captured by the Iraqi Army a day earlier but recaptured by ISIL on 18 October as the Army lacked reinforcements.[129] The Army also retook the village of Al-Hud on the Tigris, where villagers had risen up against ISIL and killed at least 9 militants.[136][137] State police also secured the Al-Mishraq sulfur plant south of Mosul.[138] The al-Shura district was stated by its mayor to have been captured by the Iraqi security forces.[139] Joint airstrikes by Iraqi and coalition warplanes on ISIL headquarters in Mosul destroyed 13 targets and killed 35 militants.[140]

As the Iraqi Army advanced on Mosul, rebellion against ISIL broke out in the city. The group's Islamic Police revolted and attacked four headquarters of the organisation. The revolt was put down with 7 rebellious leaders being killed and many militants being executed. A group of rebels attacked a headquarters of the group the next day, killed 2 militants and raised the Iraqi flag over the building. ISIL patrols in the city were also attacked.[141][142][143]

A group of Naqshabandi Army militants reportedly attacked an ISIL controlled checkpoint in the village of Al-Houd, wounding two ISIL militants before they were captured along with a few other militants who attacked a group of ISIL militants in the same village in coordination with the PMF on the day before. In total, 30 Naqshabandi militants were captured.[144]

19 October
 
Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare to load a Joint Direct Attack Munition onto an aircraft on 19 October as part of the U.S.-led airstrikes supporting the offensive.

The Iraqi army resumed fighting on 19 October, surrounding Qaraqosh with ISIL deploying snipers and car bombs.[145][146] Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Maliki declared that Iraqi forces had captured 13 villages north and northeast of Al Quwayr, south of Mosul. The Iraqi Army was also reported to be within 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the outskirts of Mosul.[147] The village of Kani Harami was captured after heavy fighting in the morning with the militants retreating to Abbasiyah.[148] A total of 22 towns were reported to have been captured, with 12 by the Peshmerga and 10 by the ISF.[149] Nofal Hammadi, governor of the Nineveh Governorate, declared that 40% of the province had been retaken from ISIL.[150]

The offensive to retake the town of Bashiqa northeast of Mosul, originally scheduled for dawn, was delayed due to lack of logistical support.[151] Thousands of Peshmerga were reportedly preparing to retake Bashiqa.[152] The international coalition's commander Gary Voelsky also stated that a majority of ISIL leaders were fleeing Mosul and predicted foreign fighters will form the majority of militants remaining in the city.[153][154]

20 October

The fighting grew more intense on 20 October.[155] A large convoy of Golden Division arrived at positions retaken by the Peshmerga forces.[156] They also captured Bartella. ISIL fighters detonated 9 truck bombs during the fighting.[157] According to Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi of the Iraqi Army, 200 ISIL fighters were killed in the fight for Bartella.[155]

The Peshmerga and NPF also announced a "large-scale operation" to the north and northeast of Mosul, aiming to retake the Assyrian towns of Tesqopa and Bashiqa.[154][158] During the day, the Peshmerga captured 6 villages, including 4 on the Bashiqa front line and 2 on the Nawaran front. In addition, they also entered another 4 villages. They briefly captured the village of Tiz Khirab but were forced to withdraw.[159] On the southern front, Iraqi forces resumed their push north after a brief pause[160] and recaptured six villages east of Qayyarah.[159]

A U.S. bomb disposal expert embedded with the Peshmerga was killed after the vehicle he was riding in drove over a roadside bomb.[161] ISIL also set Al-Mishraq sulfur plant on fire, causing two deaths and nearly 1,000 hospitalizations from sulfur fume inhalation.[162] An ISIL ambush near Bashiqa left dozens of Peshmerga dead or wounded.[160] The group was also reported to be digging trenches to slow the advancement of coalition troops.[163]

21 October

ISIL launched multiple attacks in Kirkuk on 21 October to divert military resources. Multiple explosions and gun battles in the city, mostly centered on a government compound were reported. A suicide bomber killed 13 workers, including four Iranians, at a power plant in Dibis. A senior Peshmerga commander said that attackers had entered by posing as IDPs.[164] Iraqi government forces meanwhile reported that they had retaken 2 more villages south of Mosul and killed 15 militants.[165]

22 October
 
Local boys observing cityscape of Qayyarah town on fire

On 22 October, Iraqi police declared that ISIL's attack on Kirkuk had been repelled and all attackers had been killed or had blown themselves up.[166] Iraqi officials also stated that 80 people were killed in Kirkuk, primarily Kurdish security forces, and about 170 wounded; 56 ISIL militants were also killed.[167] A reporter of Türkmeneli TV also died in the attack,[166] while at least seven journalists were wounded.[168]

A large-scale offensive began to retake the Assyrian town of Qaraqosh which remained under ISIL control after several days of fighting.[169] Iraqi troops also advanced on the town of Tel Keppe, north of Mosul.[170] Shifting winds sent the gas from the ablaze Al Mishraq sulphur plant to Qayyarah Airfield West, where U.S. and coalition forces were forced to use gas masks.[166] A journalist was also killed by a sniper in the al-Shura area.[166]

Mosul Eye reported that ISIL had executed detainees and teens aged 15–18 comprised the majority of ISIL fighters in Mosul. The group was also reported to have planted bombs and booby traps throughout the city and was preparing for battle.[171]

23–24 October

The Peshmerga claimed on 23 October that they had recaptured Bashiqa,[172][173] however it was reported on the following day that they were still trying to capture it with the help of the Turkish military.[174] The Peshmerga General Command also stated that Peshmerge had cordoned off 8 villages and had secured a significant stretch of the Bashiqa-Mosul highway. It also stated that they were now within 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) of the city.[175]

ISIL increased its counterattacks in order to distract the pro-government advancing towards Mosul. In addition to the attack on Kirkuk on 21 October, ISIL fighters struck Ar-Rutbah as well as Sinjar. Yazidi provincial chief Mahma Xelil said that at least 15 ISIL fighters were killed and two Peshmerga wounded in a two-hour battle in Sinjar. ISIL claimed its forces destroyed two Peshmerga vehicles, killing all on board.[176] Nearly 800 ISIL fighters had been killed while 78 villages were reported to have been retaken from the group as of 24 October.[177] The attack on Kirkuk was also brought to an end by 24 October, with 74 militants being killed and others including the leader of the attackers being arrested.[178]

25 October
 
U.S. Army and Iraqi military leaders discuss battle plans at Qayyarah Airfield West, 25 October.

Iraqi Special Operations Forces, advancing on Mosul from the east of the city, were reported to be within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) of the city and were pausing to wait for reinforcements before proceeding.[179] Turkish military supporting the Peshmerga destroyed several ISIL targets in the Bashiqa region of Northern Iraq.[180][181] ISIL also used the burning oil trenches to impede the visibility of the Iraqi Air Force and international coalition air force and executed 9 deserters.[182]

26 October
 
A French Dassault Rafale is refueled from a KC-10 Extender on 26 October near Iraq. The French Air Force has 24 Rafale-Ms supporting the coalition forces.

Iraqi forces were met with heavy resistance from ISIL as they attempted to clear the militants from villages in Shora, south of Mosul.[183] Hundreds of ISIL suicide bombers were reported to have been sent from Syria to defend Mosul.[184]

Meanwhile, Peshmerga forces captured the village of Derk, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) northeast of Mosul, where they discovered a large ISIL tunnel containing a large cache of weapons.[185] Stephen Townsend, the commander of US forces in Iraq, stated that coalition forces had delivered more than 2,100 aerial bombs, artillery and mortar shells, rockets and missiles since the offensive to retake Mosul started. The Iraqi government stated that that 57 Iraqi soldiers had been killed and about 250 wounded while 20 to 30 Peshmerga fighters are thought to have been killed.[186]

27 October

Captain Fahd al-Laithi of Iraq's National Information Agency stated that 13 militants were killed in a coalition airstrike that targeted an IS concentration in the Hamam al-Alil district while Iraqi forces had managed to retake 2 villages to the south of Mosul.[187] The head of the United States Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel stated that 800–900 militants had been killed in the battle.[186]

28 October

U.S. military officials estimated on 28 October that were 3,000 to 5,000 ISIL fighters left defending Mosul while 1,500 to 2,000 militants were stationed outside the city.[188] Abdulrahman al Wagga, a member of Nineveh provincial council, stated that Iraqi forces had retaken the town of Al-Shura, to the south of Mosul and had evacuated 5,000 to 6,000 civilians from there. He further stated that the area was now being cleared of homemade bombs and booby traps while security forces had almost surrounded Hammam al-Alil.[189] He also stated Iraqi security forces might storm Hammam al-Alil in the next few hours but that it would depend on the situation on the ground, as civilians were still present and ISIL militants were using a "scorched earth" policy by destroying houses, buildings and bridges to slow them down.[190]

Peshmerga and Iraqi forces also captured Fadiliya, which lies just 4 km away from Mosul.[191] UN meanwhile stated that ISIL had taken tens of thousands of civilians to use as human shields in Mosul, including at least 5,000 families from around Al-Shura and 2,210 families from the Nimrud area of Hamdaniya. Those who refused to go were executed[189][192]

29 October

The PMF stated on 29 October they had launched an offensive towards the west of Mosul with an aim to capture villages west of Mosul and reach the town of Tal Afar in order to prevent ISIL fighters from retreating into neighboring Syria or any reinforcement for their defense of Mosul. They have been tasked with recapturing around 14,000 km2 of territory from the group.[193][194][195] They also stated that they would not enter Mosul.[196] Meanwhile, Iraqi Army and PMF captured 15 villages from ISIL.[195]

Mosul Eye confirmed that civilians from outside Mosul had been abducted and forced into the city by ISIL which was confiscating homes from people for their own use. A new escape route from Mosul had been set up by Syrian Kurds, who were charging $3,000 per person to smuggle people out of the city to Turkey. The blog also reported that all bridges into the city were booby-trapped with IEDs.[197]

30 October

The Peshmerga stated on 30 October that they had captured six more villages to north and east of Mosul, and had seized control of several major roads and landmarks.[198] It also stated that it had captured 500 square kilometers of territory since the operation began.[199] PMF meanwhile stated that they had captured eight more villages to the southwest of Mosul.[200] SOHR stated that at least 480 Syrian fighters including 300 child soldiers (known as "Cubs of the Caliphate") brought to Iraq by ISIL had been killed since the offensive began.[201]

31 October
 
A U.S. soldier of the 101st Airborne Division and a member of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces discuss assessment of Iraqi security force checkpoints on 31 October at Qayyarah Airfield West.

On 31 October, a major Iraqi operation was launched on Bazwaya, to the east of Mosul. The ISOF came under heavy fire from ISIL but managed to capture the town along with several nearby villages.[202] After capturing Bazwaya, ISOF were less than 1 mile (1.6 km) from Mosul.[203]

Several Iraqi military officials stated that ISOF will begin its push into Mosul shortly.[204][205][206] The U.S.-led coalition meanwhile aimed to target ISIL militants from the air if they attempted to flee the city. The US Department of Defense stated that hundreds of militants were believed to have already escaped.[207] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi meanwhile called on ISIL fighters in Mosul to surrender.[203]

November: Entering East Mosul, reaching Tal AfarEdit

1 November

The operation to enter the city began at dawn on 1 November. The forces began their assault in Mosul's eastern Karama district, with artillery, tank and machine-gun fire on ISIL positions as they prepared the larger push into the city.[208] Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition targeted ISIL positions, and ISIL started tire fires to reduce visibility.[73]

Heavy fighting occurred in the Gogjali district, at the gate of the entrance to eastern Mosul, where ISIL militants used car bombs and sniper fire to try to halt the advance.[209] The Golden Division entered Mosul's city limits that afternoon, engaging in street fights with ISIL militants.[209] Shortly after, the Iraqi Army announced that they had captured Mosul's state television building on the city's left bank.[210][211] The Gogjali district was reported to be under Iraqi government control by the evening, while the Iraqi Army's 9th Division and 3rd Brigade had entered the neighborhood of Judaydat al-Mufti on the left bank. Near midnight, the Iraqi war media office reported that airstrikes had killed 116 militants inside Mosul, including 29 in Ghabat, 10 at an ISIL headquarters, 10 at a weapons depot and 67 at a hotel pool. They also stated that Iraqi government forces suffered no casualties.[209][212] Meanwhile, Iraqi government forces captured two villages on the northern front.[209]

Brigadier Saad Maan, the spokesperson of Iraq’s Interior Ministry, stated that the plan of the joint command in Nineveh was going faster than the Army had planned.[213] On the western front, at least 15 Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) fighters were killed when they entered abandoned villages booby-trapped with explosives.[214] ISIL also executed fifty deserters in Mosul.[215]

2 November

On 2 November, ISOF continued fighting remaining ISIL fighters in the eastern section of Gogjali.[216] Iraqi Brigadier General Haider Fadhil said his troops were forced to hold their positions in eastern Mosul as poor weather conditions were limiting visibility for drones and aircraft, and preventing them from advancing.[217] Meanwhile, eight militants were killed in Mosul by Iraqi forces.[218]

The PMU announced that it had captured 115 km² that day after fierce fighting with ISIL, including six villages, and had surrounded three ISIL-held villages. They also claimed that they had reached a highway to the southwest of Mosul and had cut the first supply line to Mosul from Raqqa.[216] The Iraqi Army in the southern front launched an offensive in the morning to recapture Hamam al-Alil and engaged in heavy fighting with the group.[219] Meanwhile, Iraqi Federal Police captured two villages in the south.[216]

3 November

ISIL released an audio file purportedly from their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he said he was "confident of victory" in Mosul, and urged ISIL fighters not to retreat.[220]

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army's 9th Armored Division was reported to have entered the neighborhood of al-Intisar in eastern Mosul.[221] while Mosul's Fifth Bridge, located over the Tigris river, was destroyed by airstrikes.[222]

U.S. and Iraqi authorities stated the offensive was "ahead of schedule" while Brigadier Saad Maan stated that the priority of protecting civilian lives and infrastructure would possibly slow their advance into the city.[223]

4 November

The Iraqi Army recaptured six districts in Mosul, including the eastern district of al-Zahra of which they claimed to have captured 90%. They were also forced to withdraw from Karama district because of heavy resistance.[224] Meanwhile, ISIL was reported to be abducting Mosul's boys to use as child soldiers.[215]

5 November

Fighting continued in the morning, with clashes most intense in the neighborhood of al-Bakr.[225] The eastern neighborhoods of Kirkukli and al-Zahra in the east and Al-Tahrir in the north-east were under Iraqi control while the southern neighborhoods of Qudes and Karama reportedly remained under ISIL control.[226] Fighting resumed in the Gogjali district, after militants emerged via tunnels during the night.[227]

CNN's Arwa Damon, who was embedded with ISOF in Mosul, reported being trapped for 28 hours near the neighborhoods of Kirkukli and Khadraa after an ambush on their military convoy forced them to run into buildings for cover and hide among civilians. Despite multiple soldiers being injured, backup forces were unable to assist as they were also under attack.[228]

ISIL claimed it had killed fifteen Iraqi soldiers and destroyed six military vehicles.[226] Meanwhile, satellite images released by private U.S. firm Stratfor revealed ISIL had installed defenses including rubble blocking main routes to the city center, rows of concrete barricades, and earthen berms. The images also showed evidence that ISIL had leveled buildings and cleared the terrain around a former military base on the west bank and around the Mosul International Airport.[225]

The Iraqi Army continued its assault on three fronts to Hamam al-Alil.[226] In the early afternoon, Iraqi forces entered the town center with heavy clashes continuing. ISIL fighters were reportedly traveling by motorcycle to avoid airstrikes. During the night, Hamam al-Alil was reported to have been retaken by Iraqi forces.[227]

 
Field hospital in Mosul, 6 November 2016
6 November

On 6 November, Iraqi forces in the southwestern front stated that they were 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Mosul International Airport after taking control of Hamam al-Alil the previous day.[229] They also stormed the Al-Sada district, their first entrance into northern Mosul.[230] The Iraq War Media Office announced that Abu Hamza al-Ansari, a key ISIL leader from Algeria, was killed in southern Mosul during clashes with the Iraqi Army's 15th Division.[231]

Blogger Mosul Eye reported that ISIL had begun installing bombs around residential buildings.[232] Meanwhile, a Kurdish official stated that three militants had been killed in an uprising by civilians in eastern Mosul.[231]

7 November

The Peshmerga, backed by coalition airstrikes, launched an offensive from three fronts in the morning to take the town of Bashiqa, which was still held by ISIL and had been surrounded for about two weeks.[233] About 100 to 200 ISIL militants were estimated to be left in the town.[234] In the early afternoon, the Iraqi troops also advanced on the town of Tel Keppe, north of Mosul, besieging the town. The town of Bashiqa was reported to be fully under Peshmerga control, though an ISIL pocket remained under siege in the town.[233]

On the southern front, Hamam al-Alil, which had been reported to be under Iraqi control two days earlier, was fully captured by pro-government forces.[235] In eastern Mosul, the ISOF surrounded the neighborhoods of Karama, Malayyin al-Salasa, Shquq Khazraa, Zahra, Karkuli, Aden, and Zahabi. The Iraqi Army's 9th armored division and the 3rd Brigade captured the village of Manarat Shabak east of the city, and made an incursion into the eastern Mosul neighborhoods of Hay Intisar, Judaydah al-Mufti, and Hay Shaima. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Federal Police captured two villages near Hammam Al-Alil.[233]

8 November

The Peshmerga killed twelve ISIL fighters trying to flee Bashiqa.[236] In the western front, PMU forces were reported to have advanced to a distance of 25 km towards strategically important Tal Afar military air base, south of the city.[237] CJTF–OIR also stated it had carried out an airstrike on an ISIL headquarters building near Tal Afar.[238] ISIL senior commander Mahmoud Shukri al-Nuaimi was also reported to have been killed in a coalition airstrike in western Mosul.[239]

9 November

The ISOF captured the majority of the Intisar district in southern Mosul, while ISIL had reportedly deployed armed child soldiers in Mosul.[240] Aid agencies were unable to reach Mosul's neighborhoods retaken by Iraqi forces because of the danger of boobytraps and snipers.[241]

10 November

In eastern Mosul, the Golden Division (controlling Zahra district and at least half of Aden district where clashes were ongoing) as well as elements of the 9th division (controlling Intisar district) were reported to be regrouping and clearing neighborhoods once occupied by ISIL, as well as screening residents fleeing from Mosul for any militants hiding among them.[242] On the southern front, pro-government forces advanced towards the ancient city of Nimrud.[243] Iraqi officials announced that the new ISIL war official, Khaled al-Mitwiti, had been killed,[244] while the Abbas Rajab village was captured by Iraqi forces.[245]

 
A German Air Force Tornado ECR refuels near Mosul, November 2016
11 November

On the southern front, Iraqi forces were preparing to advance up the western bank of the Tigris River toward Mosul International Airport.[246] In eastern Mosul, Iraqi forces launched a new offensive to regain control of the neighborhood of Karkukli.[247] Iraqi anti-terror units were reported to have entered the Qadesiyya neighborhood.[248]

12 November

On 12 November, heavy clashes were reported in the al-Salam neighborhood of east Mosul.[249] Iraqi Army announced that it had captured al-Arbajiya district and was clearing the adjacent al-Qadisiya al-Thaniya district.[250] They also reached Palestine neighborhood in southeast Mosul and were engaged in battle with ISIL in the Quds neighborhood.[249] The PMU announced that the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ) as its part, had started the operation to capture villages around Sinjar from ISIL.[251]

After a number of its senior leaders were killed by a coalition air strike in east Mosul, ISIL imposed a curfew in the city.[252] A local source also stated that the group was evacuating families of its fighters from west to east Mosul, denoting a severe collapse of defenses on the western front.[253] Its fighters were meanwhile using drones for surveillance as well as suicide bombers and snipers against the Iraqi Army.[249]

13 November

On 13 November, Iraqi forces recaptured the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud as well as the adjacent modern town.[254][255] Iraqi forces meanwhile captured the Karkojli neighborhood in eastern Mosul.[256] Brig. Gen. Maan al Saadi, the commander of the 2nd Group of ISOF, stated ISIL was collapsing and losing control, with Iraqi forces now only two days away from seizing a neighborhood where they planned to fight for four days.[257]

14 November

On 14 November, thirty ISIL fighters, including senior leaders, were killed as PMU forces captured the village of al-Abbas.[258] They also captured two more villages, and stated ISIL received severe human and material losses.[259] Meanwhile, twenty militants were killed in airstrikes by the Iraqi air Force.[260]

 
ISOF APC on the street of Mosul, 16 November 2016

Pro-government forces on the southern front captured the village of Bo Youssef and were 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Mosul airport.[258] ISIL meanwhile launched three attacks using rockets filled with mustard gas on Qayyarah, causing seven casualties.[261]

15 November

On 15 November, 49 militants were killed in airstrikes by the United States Air Force on the al-Bakr neighborhood of Mosul.[262] Troops of the Golden Division meanwhile began storming areas in northern and eastern Mosul, including the neighborhoods of al-Akhaa, al-Bakr and al-Hadbaa. Two car bombs were destroyed while three suicide bombers were killed.[263] On the Western front, the Badr Organization announced that it had captured two villages and advanced 10 kilometers in the western axis of the offensive.[264]

 
Outskirts of Mosul, 17 November 2016
16 November

On 16 November, fourteen civilians were killed by ISIL in the al-Zahraa neighborhood under government control.[265] Airstrikes by the US-led coalition meanwhile destroyed 4 watercrafts, 6 mortar systems, 2 fighting positions, 2 vehicles, a bunker and a building held by ISIL.[266]

PMF also took control of Tal Afar military airbase west of the city Mosul.[267]

18 November

On 18 November, in the West, PMF were securing and clearing Tal Afar military airbase, which they had captured from ISIL two days earlier, and preparing the assault on the city proper.[268] In the vicinity, they were attacking further villages, in an area infamous for Sunni Islamist militancy and outstanding support for ISIL among the population.[269] PMF control had already been established in over 16 villages in the surrounding area, during preceding days.[270]

20 November

The Anti-Terrorism Directorate said in a statement aired by the state-owned television that the Anti-Terrorism forces managed to liberate the areas of Hayy Adan, al-Akhaa and the water project in Mosul, within the eastern axis of Nineveh liberation operations. The Wali of Islamic State in Hayy Adan, Marwan Hamed Saleh al-Hayali, was killed.[271]

 
Map of Mosul control lines (around 22 November 2016)
22 November

On 22 November, in Mosul ISIL fighters were reported targeting Iraqi special forces with rockets and mortars as they slowly advanced in the densely populated Zohour neighborhood.[272] Four of the five Tigris bridges were hit by coalition airstrikes within the previous 48 hours.[273]

Far to the West at the Syrian border, near the town of Baaj, four Islamic State commanders were captured in a U.S. special operation.[273]

23 November

On 23 November, to the West, PMF reported cutting the road between Sinjar and Tal Afar, their Shia component groups advancing from the South linking up with the Sinjar Resistance Units and Êzîdxan Women's Units to the North, thus completing the encirclement of the Mosul pocket.[274]

25 November

50 ISIL fighters were killed and 32 others were arrested with Iraqi Federal Police continuing the operation to clear the area south of Mosul.[275]

30 November

On 30 November, the PMF said that they captured 12 villages from ISIL in the Tal Afar area, over the previous five days.[276]

At the end of November, the Iraqi military assessed that it had taken control of 19 neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul during the month, constituting somewhat less than 30 percent of the area of Mosul east of the Tigris.[277] While the "Golden Division" Special Operations Forces persistently advanced into East Mosul, the 9th Division took one neighbourhood in the southeast, the 16th Division had not yet breached Mosul city limits from the north, and the 15th Division, advancing from the southwest, was still several kilometres away from western Mosul.[278]

December: Advancing towards the Syrian borderEdit

4 December

2 ISIL leaders, Abu Turq and Falah al-Rashidi, were killed in airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition on 4 December. Al-Rishdi was involved in the group's use of VBIEDs (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) and was killed in Mosul. Abu Turq was killed in Shirqat and was a financial facilitator.[279]

6 December

20 airstrikes by the US-led coalition were heard on the morning of 6 December following an assault on the city's strategic main bridge that was held by ISIL. In the overnight hours, ISIL launched a counter-attack in the southeastern area of Mosul, near al-Salam; however, casualty figures from either side were not announced.[280] PMU meanwhile stated that it had captured the southern section of Tal Abta.[281]

 
Ongoing battle as of 7 December 2016.
7 December

Following the overnight ISIL attack, Iraqi forces continued to secure the al-Salam area, capturing al-Salam hospital. However, ISIL recaptured the hospital after a counterattack which destroyed or disabled 20 Iraqi vehicles.[282]

9 December

Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced on 9 December that they had captured the three districts of Saha, Adel and Tahrir. It further added that Iraqi forces had captured 27 districts of Mosul with clashes ongoing in 4 districts. Lieutenant-General Abdul Ameer Yarallah meanwhile stated that three factories making car bombs in Mosul and three weapons warehouses were destroyed by Iraqi airstrikes.[283]

11 December

The CTS forces mentioned that they had captured another district of east Mosul, al-Nour neighborhood.[284]

12 December

The Iraqi federal police said that three of their brigades, initially meant to advance from the southwest toward the airport, were redeployed to join the three "Golden Division" counterterrorism brigades in the east of the city.[285]

13 December

CTS commander Abdul Wahab al-Saedi stated that there were only 6 districts left to be captured by the CTS forces in East Mosul and they had already captured 32 of them.[286] While the PMF to the West continued clearing villages in the desert region of the ISIL heartland, on 13 December it was reported that the Badr militia was targeting villages around Tal Afar to "surround Daesh and tighten the noose around them", and Kata'ib Hezbollah advanced further west towards the Syrian border.[287] Abu Dur al-Tunsi and Bilal al-Shawash, two Tunisian ISIL military commanders, reportedly deserted after they were attacked by Iraqi members. According to the head of Nineveh Media Centre's Raafat al-Zarari, the local militants were being made to fight at the front lines, while some non-Iraqi commanders didn't engage in direct clashes.[288] CTS forces meanwhile captured al-Falah Oula and al-Falah Thaniya districts later in the day while PMU captured 7 villages near Tal Afar.[289]

14 December

On 14 December, 70 ISIL fighters including 20 senior leaders as well as their bodyguards were killed in Iraqi airstrikes on Tel Abta where they were holding a meeting.[290] Meanwhile, 40 civilians were killed in airstrikes and shelling in east Mosul.[291] A number of militants who attempted to launch suicide attacks in 3 districts of east Mosul were also killed, with some of their booby-trapped vehicles also destroyed.[292]

15 December

The Iraqi Federal Police announced on 15 December the capture of Saleh Najem Abdullah, the Media Center Official of ISIL.[293] CTS commander Abdul Ghani al-Assadi meanwhile announced that the first phase of retaking the eastern shores of the city was completed, with CTS forces capturing 40 out of 56 districts.[294]

16 December

PMF were in the process of taking control of more villages to the south and southwest of Tal Afar, after capturing Tel Abth district, home to almost 50,000 people and a major strategic ISIL stronghold, in the previous days.[285] Iraqi forces meanwhile repelled 4 ISIL attacks, killing 174 militants and destroying 13 SVBIEDs.[295]

17 December

An airstrike by the US-led coalition near Mosul destroyed 5 buildings used by ISIL in addition to quantities of weapons and equipment.[296]

18 December

Brig. Gen. Taher al-Sammak of Iraq's SWAT forces stated that the 9th Division, with the assistance of CTS, had started attacking al-Wehda district of east Mosul in order to regain control of al-Salam hospital.[297]

19 December

Captain Iyad Ziad of Nineveh Operations Command stated that Iraqi forces had stormed into al-Mazare’ area after retaking large parts of al-Wahda in southeastern Mosul and also killed 14 ISIL fighters including 4 suicide bombers.[298] 4 PMF fighters were meanwhile killed in an ISIL attack on Abu Senam village near Tel Afar. The group also shelled Tel Afar Airport and destroyed 2 PMF vehicles.[299]

21 December

U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Matthew Isler announced on 21 December that pro-government forces had entered a planned operational refit which included repairing vehicles, re-supplying ammunition and preparing for the next stage of the battle. He also stated that they had captured more than a quarter of the city.[300]

22 December

The UN stated, on 22 December, that 4 Iraqi aid workers and 7 civilians were killed by mortar fire. Later, ISIL launched a triple suicide bomb attack at a market in Gogjali. 23 people, including 15 civilians, were killed in the attacks, according to the Iraqi military.[301] The Iraqi Ministry of Defense says the Iraqi Air Force bombarded a gathering of Islamic State members, south of Tal Abta area, killing 20 leaders and 50 members, based on intelligence information.[302]

23 December

The Iraqi Army captured the Mosul Police Academy headquarters in Al-Qahira district on 23 December. This was their first major advance since suspension of military operations a week earlier.[303]

24 December
 
Iraqis present Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford with the ISIL flag upside down

U.S. Army Colonel Brett G. Sylvia stated on 24 December that American soldiers assisting Iraqi forces will be embedded more extensively and will partner with additional formations.[304] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that Iraqi forces are in control of over a third of Mosul. Iraqi Joint Operations Command spokesperson Yahia Rasoul stated that Iraqi forces control 44% of Nineveh Governate. He added that CTS forces control 40 districts in east Mosul, while the Iraqi Army's 9th Battalion held six districts.[305] Meanwhile, 10 civilians were killed due to ISIL shelling in eastern Mosul.[306]

25 December

At least 97 militants were killed in Mosul during the day according to Operations Commander Lieutenant-General Abdulamir Rashid Yarallah. He stated that an attack by ISIL on police stations south of Abuyosif area resulted in the death of 21 IS fighters. He also added that another attack at Al-Intisar, Salam and Al-Shaima'a neighborhoods had killed 51 jihadists, while the anti-ISIL coalition killed 25 militants in airstrikes on their hideout.[307] CTS reportedly stormed into the Al-Quds district later in the day.[308]

26 December

Commander of Nineveh Operations Major General Najim al-Jabouri announced on 26 December that new military reinforcements had arrived in the Mosul neighborhoods retaken by Iraqi forces, both to enhance their presence and to prepare themselves to storm into the remaining areas of the eastern side.[309] Lieutenant Colonel Stuart James, commander of an American battalion assisting the Iraqi forces, meanwhile stated that a new advance in Mosul would begin within days.[310] The Iraqi Defence Ministry meanwhile stated that 10 militants were killed and 14 ISIL cannons were destroyed in coalition airstrikes in east of Mosul.[311] According to a military official, another 5 ISIL fighters were captured for information after some troops of the 16th Division, disguised as ISIL members, infiltrated inside the Owaiza area.[312]

27 December

The ISIL-run Amaq News Agency stated that the anti-ISIL coalition had destroyed the Old Bridge, the last functioning bridge in Mosul. The US-led Coalition, meanwhile, stated that it had disabled a Mosul bridge with airstrikes without providing the details.[313]

29 December

Iraqi forces launched the second phase of the battle on 29 December, pushing from three directions into eastern Mosul districts. Iraqi soldiers and Federal Police entered about half a dozen southeastern districts. CTS meanwhile advanced in al-Quds and Karama districts. In the third front, Iraqi soldiers also pushed toward the northern limits.[314] Jabouri stated that they were ordered by the Prime Minister to reach the Tigris River.[315] An ISIL headquarters in al-Thobat district was reportedly destroyed in coalition airstrikes, killing 12 militants.[316] Later in the day, the commander of the operation declared that they had captured 2 villages to the north of Mosul, killing 70 militants.[317] Iraqi forces had captured half of al-Quds by early afternoon.[318] The Iraqi military later announced that they had killed more than 200 militants during the day.[319]

30 December

Iraqi security forces advanced in several areas on 30 December. In the northern front, the 16th Division stormed the Habdaa district while also trying to cut off the supply lines to Tel Kayf.[320][321] Meanwhile, ISIL was reported to have evacuated family members of its foreign fighters from four districts in western Mosul.[322] 2 ISIL attacks in eastern Mosul were later repelled.[323] Ammar al-Haweidi, who is an elite leader of ISIL was reported to have been killed by the Iraqi Federal Police.[324] Clashes broke out again in one of the villages reported to be captured a day earlier.[325]

31 December

Heavy clashes occurred on the southeastern and northern fronts of Mosul on 31 December. An Iraqi Army officer deployed in the southeastern front reported that their advances were slowed down due to heavy clashes and difficulty in differentiating between civilians and militants. Iraqi forces on the northern front advances towards the periphery of Mosul, with an officer stating that heavy clashes were ongoing in the Argoob area.[326] The CTS destroyed four VBIEDs when ISIL tried to attack them in the street linking al-Ta’mim neighborhood and the garage area in east Mosul.[327] The U.S. military meanwhile stated that its airstrikes on a van carrying ISIL fighters at a hospital compound parking lot might have killed civilians.[328]

2017Edit

January: Second Phase and capturing eastern MosulEdit

1 January

Iraqi forces continued their advance on 1 January 2017. The military announced that it had captured a part of the Karama district, and a federal police officer stated that they had taken near complete control of Intissar and Siha districts, and were clearing the Salam district.[329] CTS linked up with Rapid Response Division during the day at the edge of al-Intissar and al-Quds. Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a top CTS commander, stated that Iraqi forces had captured more than 60% of east Mosul.[330] Iraqi Defence Ministry's War Media Cell announced during the day that Iraqi forces had captured Yunus al-Sabaawi and Yafa districts in the southeastern part of the city. Lt. Col. Eyad al-Awsyi said that they had also completely captured al-Intissar, and were nearing completion of capturing Karama.[331] Federal Police announced later in the day that they had captured the Gogjali-Intsar road.[332] They also stated during the day that they had captured the strategic No.60 Street to the southeast of Mosul. Army major Ali Mohsen meanwhile said that the Iraqi Army had captured al-Malayeen, al-Kindi and al-Arabi al-Thania districts.[333]

2 January

CTS announced on 2 January that they had completely captured al-Karama district.[334] Sabah al-Numan, the CTS spokesman, later stated that they were clearing the remaining militants in North Karama. ISIL meanwhile cut off a strategic road linking Mosul and Baghdad. The group also shelled Shirqat, after attacking a military barracks near Baiji and seizing weapons. According to the Mayor of Shirqat, they had seized 3 checkpoints on the main road between the city and Baiji. Iraqi authorities later said that they had regained control of the road.[335]

3 January

Iraqi forces stormed three districts on 3 January and killed 50 militants during clashes in 2 of them.[336] The operation commander said that Iraqi Air Force airstrikes had destroyed the office of ISIL's hisbah police located on Mosul-Tel Afar road, and several warfare utilities of the group.[337] The Federal Police said that it had destroyed the headquarters of Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of Caliphate), an ISIL explosives factory and a drone headquarters in al-Mithaq district.[338] The Iraqi Army announced later that CTS had captured Karama industrial neighborhood, the Industrial district, the Karama Silo (a flour mill), and a Mercedes Company building during the day.[339] The Ministry of Defense later announced that Iraqi forces had captured the area of exhibitions and the commercial complex to the south of Ta'mim district.[340] The forces later announced that they had captured Al-Hay al-Senai and al-Mithaq districts as well as the Maaridh area to the east of Mosul.[341]

4 January

Iraqi forces cleared Mithaq district and advanced in al-Wahda on 4 January.[342] The United Nations said that civilian casualties had started increasing as they advanced.[343] The Joint Operations Command said that the Federal Police and 9th Division had captured Wahda after heavy clashes, bringing them closer to the city center, and that ISIL counter-attacks in southeastern Mosul had been repelled, with the death of about 40 militants and destruction of 7 VBIEDs. Iraqi forces also advanced in al-Salam, Palestine, al-Shaimaa, Domiez and Sumer districts amid heavy clashes.[344] The Federal Police meanwhile announced the killing of Abu Marawan al-Hadithi, an ISIL leader. Lt.-Gen. Ra'ed Shaker also said that Iraqi forces had cleared al-Wahda, al-Moallemin and Sumer districts, and had captured the Mosul-Kirkuk road.[345] The United States Department of Defense and the anti-ISIL coalition stated that American advisers had entered Mosul along with Iraqi forces.[346]

5 January

Lt.-Gen. Talib Shaghati stated on 5 January that Iraqi forces had captured about 65–70% of east Mosul.[347] During the day, the Federal Police said that they had destroyed three ISIL drones in east Mosul. An attack on PMU near Tal Afar was meanwhile reportedly repelled, with the deaths of 35 militants including senior recruitment agent Abu Qaswara al-Shami.[348] The Federal Police announced that 1,700 ISIL fighters had been killed in the second phase. General Raed Shaker Jawdat stated that the group's headquarters in Nineveh province had been destroyed and Iraqi forces had captured eight districts in the second phase, thus bringing the entire southeastern section of Mosul under their control. He added that they had also captured drone factories, five car bomb manufacturing plants, an electrical plant, a windmill and several schools. He said that all the remaining districts in east Mosul had been surrounded and would be stormed soon.[349]

6 January

On 6 January, CTS was reported to have stormed the al-Muthanna district during an overnight raid across the al-Khawsar river.[350] A CTS spokesman later said that ISIL had been driven out of the district and dozens of militants killed in airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition.[351] This was the first time that Iraqi forces had entered Mosul from the north.[352] They also launched an assault on the Hadbaa apartment complex in the northern front, and faced heavy clashes later in the day.[353]

7 January

Iraqi forces continued their advance on 7 January, coming within several hundred metres of the Tigris river. During the day CTS said that they had captured the al-Gharfan district (previously known as al-Baath) and had entered Wahda district. The military later announced that they had captured a hospital complex in Wahda. Meanwhile, a spokesman of the anti-ISIL coalition stated that ISIL had deliberately damaged the fourth bridge as Iraqi forces advanced.[354] Staff Lieutenant General Yarallah said that Iraqi forces had captured Al-Salam Hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, a medical college. They had also captured ISIL's command center and two prisons.[355][356] He later said that CTS had captured Rifaq, Atibaa 1st and Atibaa 2nd districts, and well as the Hadbaa residential complex.[357]

8 January

On 8 January, al-Saadi said that CTS troops advancing towards Sukkar and Baladiyat districts had been attacked by ISIL from a historic hill, but had been repelled with the help of coalition warplanes, killing dozens of militants.[358] Security sources said that Iraqi forces were shelling ISIL's positions in al-Kindi district in preparation for storming it later, while the 9th division and Federal Police had launched an attack on Sumer and Domiz districts in the southeastern front.[359] The CTS spokesman said that Iraqi forces had reached the Tigris river for the first time in the offensive, advancing towards the eastern side of the fourth bridge. Brett McGurk, USA's envoy to the anti-ISIL coalition, said that ISIL's defences in eastern Mosul were showing signs of collapse.[360] An ISIL attack on Hadbaa apartments was later reportedly repelled, with the death of about 10 militants and destruction of 4 VBIEDs.[361] PMU meanwhile stated that they had repelled an ISIL attack near Adaya, located to the west of Mosul, killing about 10 militants.[362]

9 January

Iraqi military stated on 9 January that CTS had captured the Baladiyat district in the eastern front while the Federal Police and Iraqi Army had captured Domiz and Palestine districts in the southeastern front. CTS also carried out operations to clear Furqan and Atiba districts. An ISIL attack in Furqaan was repelled according to the military, resulting in deaths of 30 militants.[363] Iraqi Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell meanwhile stated that Iraqi Air Force killed 25 militants in airstrikes in eastern Mosul while airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition killed about 20 militants in al-Abra village near Tal Afar.[364] The group which was still in control of the city's water stations, was reported to have cut the water supply to more than 30 districts captured by Iraqi forces.[365] ISOF meanwhile surrounded the University of Mosul.[366]

10 January

Iraqi Joint Operations Command stated on 10 January that CTS forces had captured the Sukkar and al-Dhubbat districts while advancing in Siddeeq and al-Maliyah districts. Several governmental offices including the communication complex, provincial electricity department and a security headquarters were also captured according to it. It also stated that ISIL had blown up two bridges in order to prevent Iraqi forces from attacking western Mosul. It added that in the southeastern front, the Federal police and Iraqi Army pushed further into al-Salam, Palestine, Sumer, Yarimja and Sahiron districts. Regarding the northern front it stated that Iraqi Army advanced further into al-Hadbaa while capturing northern part of Sabaa Nisaan.[367] Meanwhile, a security source stated that Iraqi Air Force had conducted airstrikes on headquarters of ISIL's Australian leaders in Mosul, killing the commander of Australian Brigade Khaled Sharouf, also known as Abu Mosab al-Australi along with three of his aides.[368]

11 January

Iraqi forces continued advancing on 11 January with military officials stating that the CTS had advanced in the Sadeeq district and were firing into the adjacent Hadbaa. Iraqi forces also clashed with ISIL in the southern front during the day.[369]

12 January

CTS spokesman al-Numan stated on 12 January that CTS had captured 7th Nissan and Sadeeq districts, successfully linking up with Iraqi Army advancing in Hadbaa district. He claimed that Iraqi forces were now in control of about 85% of eastern Mosul. The Rapid Response Division meanwhile advanced in Sumer and Sahiroun districts.[370] Iraqi Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell stated that a senior ISIL leader was killed along with his companions in an airstrike by Iraqi Air Force on their camp in al-Amel district.[371] Security sources stated that 90 militants were killed in airstrikes by Iraqi Air Force on Yaramja district while local sources stated that 3 militants including a senior member in charge of ISIL's prisons were killed in a drone strike in western Mosul.[372] The operation command later announced that Iraqi Army had captured Sumer and Sahiroun districts.[373] PMU meanwhile stated it had captured 3 villages near Tel Abta.[374] The operation command later also announced that Iraqi forces had captured al-Salam district.[375]

13 January

The operation command announced on 13 January that CTS had reached the second bridge of the city, which is also called the "Freedom Bridge". Yarallah stated that in response, ISIL had destroyed all five bridges of the city, in order to slow the Iraqi advance towards western Mosul.[376][377] CTS later announced they had reached the Old Bridge also known as the "Iron Bridge" and stormed the University of Mosul, capturing a part of its complex later in the day.[378] The operation command later announced that CTS had captured al-Kafa'at district in eastern front as well as al-Sadriya, al-Naser and al-Faisaliyah in central part of East Mosul.[379] Iraqi Army also captured the Hadbaa district during the day,[380] while Yarallah declared that CTS had captured a government complex which included the Nineveh Governorate and council buildings.[381]

14 January

Spokesman Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi stated on 14 January that the Rapid Response Division had captured the Yarimja area as well as a field hospital ISIL was using. A military statement meanwhile announced that the Federal Police had captured the highway between Mosul and Kirkuk.[382] Iraqi forces later completely captured the University of Mosul, in addition to the eastern side of a third bridge.[383] Meanwhile, 10 militants were reportedly killed or wounded in infighting between a group of ISIL fighters who fled towards west Mosul and the leaders in western side due to mutual accusations.[384] An airstrike by CJTF-OIR on the house of a senior ISIL leader was reported to have resulted in deaths of around 30 civilians. CENTCOM stated that the allegation will be investigated.[385] Suicide bombings were carried out by an Iraqi, Tajik, and an Uzbek.[386]

15 January

On 15 January, Iraqi forces carried out a sweeping operation in the University of Mosul for any hiding militants while continuing their advancement along the Tigris river.[387] The operation command later announced that the Iraqi Army had captured al-Kafaat Thani (Second) district in the northern front while CTS had captured Andalus in the eastern front.[388][389]

16 January
 
The ruins of the Nabi Yunus mosque after it was captured by Iraqi forces

Clashes occurred in Shurta and Andalus districts on 16 January. By this point, Iraqi forces had taken complete control of the river banks in the south.[390] The operation command during the day announced that the Army had captured Kindi and Qairawan districts while CTS had captured Jammasa.[391] CTS spokesman al-Numan later announced that they had captured the Nabi Yunus area including the Nabi Yunus shrine.[392]

 
Battle situation as of 17 January 2017.
17 January

al-Numan stated that CTS was now in complete control of Shurta and Andalus. He also stated that they had pushed into Eastern Nineveh and Souq al-Ghanam districts. A separate military statement announced that CTS had also captured al-Muhandiseen district. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army in the northern front stormed the Kindi military base.[393] Yarallah later announced that CTS had captured Nineveh al-Sharqiya, Bab-Shams and Souq al-Ghanam districts in the eastern front. He added that they had also captured Nu'maniya and Uttshana districts in addition to storming the adjacent al-Jazair district. Regarding the northern front, he stated that Iraqi Army had captured the Kindi military base, the former headquarters of the 2nd Division as well as the nearby al-Kindi facility.[394][395] Iraqi forces also succeeded in capturing all five bridges of the city during the day while al-Saadi announced they had also captured the Zaraei district.[396] CTS also captured Al Jazair, Al Derkazlih, Al Seuis and Sanharib districts during the day. Yarallah also stated that they had captured the Grand Mosque of the city.[397][398] United States Air Force Colonel John Dorrian stated during the day that Iraqi forces were in control of 85–90% of east Mosul.[399] Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi meanwhile stated that Iraqi forces had begun moving against ISIL in western Mosul.[400]

18 January

Lieutenant-General Talib Shaghati announced on 18 January that CTS had captured all the districts of east Mosul they were tasked with taking, and that Iraqi forces were almost in complete control of the eastern side. A military statement announced that a few parts of the city in north had yet to be captured by the Iraqi Army.[401] Shaghati also stated that all five bridges of the city were under control of Iraqi forces. During the day, CTS captured the Nineveh ruins as well as the adjacent Tal Nirgal area. The operation command meanwhile announced that Iraqi Army had captured al-Qadhiyah district and were fighting on the edges of al-Arabi district.[402][403] PMU meanwhile announced that they had captured 2 areas in the Nineveh Plains region.[404]

19 January

On 19 January, the military statements announced that the Iraqi Army had captured the town of Tel Kayf (after a nearly 3-month-long siege),[405][406] as well as the Nineveh Oberoi hotel and the "Palaces" area on the eastern bank of the Tigris. Clashes were still ongoing in the Al-Arabi District. Meanwhile, McGurk announced that over 50 watercrafts and barges being used by ISIL to supply its members in eastern Mosul were destroyed in airstrikes.[407] Iraqi Air Force carried out an airstrike in al-Zerai area in Mosul, reportedly killing five ISIL leaders including Abdel Wahed Khodier, assistant to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; the Islamic Police Chief in Nineveh, Ahmed Khodier Sayer al-Juwan and Agriculture Minister in Tal Afar and Mahlabiya, Abdel Karim Khodier Sayer al-Juwan.[408] Yarallah meanwhile announced that Iraqi forces had also captured the Fadiliyah district and Jaber ibn Hayyan military facility.[409] Iraqi forces also captured the Ghabat area during the day.[410]

20 January

Yarallah announced on 20 January that the 9th Division had captured the free zone in the northern sector.[411] Iraqi forces also captured a pharmaceutical plant to the north of Mosul as well as Al-Arabi 1 district. They also clashed with ISIL in Rashidiyah district. Meanwhile, CTS started clearing the districts they had captured in Mosul.[412][410] Iraqi Air Forces also said that they carried out an airstrike targeting the regions of Tel Kaif and al-Sehaji, in northeastern Mosul, killing 88 militants.[413]

21 January

Iraqi forces continued advancing in the outskirts of the city on 21 January. During the day, the operation command announced that the Iraqi Army had completely captured al-Arabi district as well as al-Qousiyat village, leaving some 40 militants killed and four car bombs destroyed.[414] The CJTF-OIR also announced that between 19 and 21 January, they had targeted a flotilla of 90 boats and three barges being used by ISIL to cross the Tigris and escape the clashes.[415] On the same day, Coalition officials stated that the fight for west Mosul is expected to be tougher than the fight for east Mosul.[416]

22 January

The Iraqi military announced on 22 January that Iraqi forces had captured Al-Milayeen district and Al-Binaa al-Jahiz area as well as the Mosul-Dohuk road. By this point, only the Rashidiyah district was left under ISIL control in eastern Mosul.[417]

23 January

Iraqi defense ministry issued a statement earlier on 23 January on its website, announcing the complete capture of eastern Mosul. However it was later removed with fighting ongoing in Rashidiyah which the Iraqi Army entered during the day.[418]

24 January
 
Battle as of 25 January 2017 (full liberation of eastern Mosul)

The operation command announced on 24 January that Iraqi troops captured the Rashidiyah district as well as the villages of Ba'wiza, Shrikhan and Baysan. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi later announced the "full liberation" of eastern Mosul.[75]

25 January
 
Iraqi soldiers talk with and are greeted by civilians in eastern Mosul

Col. Khaled al-Jewari, from the Joint Operations Command, told DPA that ISIL executed a qadi (senior judge), along with other combat commanders, for escaping from the battle for eastern Mosul.[419]

Meanwhile, the PMU announced that they took over Tel Shana, a strategic hill in Salahuddin, after killing dozens of IS militants. It added that PMUs also took over the villages of ِArab Leith, Mohamed al-Awad and Ard Mosaltan after intense fights with the extremist group.[420]

28 January

The PMU's 2nd Brigade announced that they repelled an attack launched by ISIL on the al-Kobayrat area, to the west of Mosul, killing 40 militants.[421]

30 January

Iraqi state TV reported that the PMU killed 35 ISIL members west of Mosul.[422]

February: Third Phase and advance into western MosulEdit

3 February

On 3 February, the PMU announced that they had captured the villages of Bostan Radif and Um Gharba, as well as the Sherka region of western Mosul.[423]

13 February

On 13 February, more than 200 ISIL fighters launched an attack on three villages to the west of Tal Afar with tanks and VBIEDs, to regain access between western Mosul and Raqqa. The attack was repelled by the PMU, resulting in deaths of more than 50 ISIL fighters and the destruction of 17 VBIEDs.[424] Another attack on a village to the south of village was repelled, resulting in deaths of 13 militants according to the Federal Police.[425] Airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition killed Haqi Ismail Hamid al-Emri, a former member of al-Qaeda in Iraq who played a leadership role of ISIL's security networks in Mosul.[426]

 
Eastern Mosul, February 2017

Evening Standard reported that, RAF Typhoons carried out an airstrike with two Paveway IVs guided bombs targeted and destroyed an IS headquarters in the north-western outskirts of the city.[427]

18 February

On 18 February, leaflets were distributed to western Mosul residents announcing and assuring that the offensive against the ISIL-held region of the city would continue soon.[428] Iraqi fighter jets also targeted ISIL's headquarters and communication positions in the western area.[76]

19 February

On 19 February, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, announced the start of the operation to capture western Mosul.[76] Iraqi forces attacked to retake the Mosul Airport, capturing around 15 villages and a power plant near west Mosul during the day.[429][430]

20 February

On 20 February, Iraqi forces captured the strategic village of Albu Saif to the south of Mosul and reached the vicinity of the city's airport.[431][432] PMU meanwhile recaptured Sahaji, the last ISIL-held village on the road between Tal Afar and Mosul, effectively cutting off the road between the two cities.[433] It also captured the village of Lazaga during the day.[434] Iraqi Kurdistan's Counter-terrorism Group (CTG) meanwhile stated that Peshmerga forces had killed several ISIL leaders and at least 30 militants in an operation carried out with the co-operation of the anti-ISIL coalition. The leaders killed in the operation included Abu Bakr el Sheshani, who is a Russian national and ISIL's military official in Nineveh Governorate, Abu Fatma el Tounsi who is the group’s financial official in the governorate, Dr. Salah Hassan el Sakalawi (also known as Dr. Abdullah) who is considered ISIL's health minister, as well as Dr. Abu Hassan el Homosi who is the group's Emir for health in Wilayat el Sham.[435] Iraqi forces also attacked Ghazlani camp, the biggest military facility in Mosul.[436] Federal Police also was reported to have captured about 8 villages western outskirts of Mosul.[437]

21 February

On 21 February, Iraqi forces continued clearing the hills around Albu Saif, successfully clearing two villages near it.[438] Raed Shakir Jawdat, Federal Police chief later stated that ISIL had pulled out of Mosul airport after clashes. At least 90 ISIS militants were announced to have been killed in drone strikes during the day, ISIL's chief security observant "Abu Abdullah" and Mekhled al-Geheishi, a senior ISIL executioner at Badush prison, were among them.[439][440]

22 February

Contrary to previous days reports, the airport was reported to be still under ISIL control, with Iraqi forces readying an assault to retake it.[441] Meanwhile, PMU launched an assault to capture Tal Afar and captured two villages around it, killing 47 militants and destroying 13 booby-trapped vehicles in the process.[442] Ammar Mustafa Yusuf (also known as Abu Ibrahim), ISIL's wali of Tal Afar, was killed along with his son in an airstrike by Iraqi Air Force on a village near Tal Afar.[443] Jawdat announced that Iraqi forces had recaptured al-Bouseif hills during the day.[444]

23 February

On 23 February, Iraqi forces backed by drones and heavy artillery attacked the Mosul airport, advancing from several directions towards it. They captured the airport later on along with 2 other villages near it. In addition, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul also announced that Iraqi forces had captured an ISIL weapons storage warehouse, a former ISIL headquarters and the barracks at al-Ghazlani military facility.[445] Jawdat also announced that Iraqi forces also captured a nearby sugar plant along with its residential areas.[446] Meanwhile, airstrikes in western and southern Mosul reportedly killed 35 ISIL members including a regional mayor.[447] ISIL also issued a death warrant against a senior leader named "Abu Osama" who had fled during the battle for Mosul airport.[448] PMU meanwhile announced that Ali Abdel Kadim al-Saeedi, commander of its 10th Brigade, was killed in clashes with ISIL in Tel Afar.[449] One of ISIL's emirs, Abu Dujana al-Tunsi, was also reported to have been killed during clashes in Tal Afar.[450] An ISIL counter-attack to break Mosul's siege was repelled by PMU during the day.[451] An ISIL rocket attack late in the day on soldiers stationed at Mosul airport resulted in dozens of deaths.[452]

 
Ongoing battle as of 24 February 2017.
24 February

On 24 February, Iraqi forces captured al-Ghazlani military base and entered a district in western Mosul for the first time. Jawdat announced that they had captured a sports facility in al-Tayyaran district.[453] Sami al-Aridhi, a lieutenant-general of CTS, also announced that Iraqi forces captured the Tall al-Rayyan village, outside Mosul, and entered al-Mamoun district.[452]

25 February

Iraqi forces continued advancing inside western Mosul on 25 February. Brigadier General Hisham Abdul Kadhim announced that Federal Police and Rapid Response Division had captured Hawi al-Josaq and had begun clearing the Tayyaran district. Al-Saadi meanwhile stated that CTS pushed towards Wadi Hajr and al-Mamoun districts from two fronts and had entered both of them.[454] Saadi later also stated that their advance had slowed and they were facing heavy resistance, especially in al-Mamoun, since its streets are organized randomly, making it difficult to set up roadblocks for countering VBIEDs.[455] Shifa Gardi, a Kurdish reporter working for Rudaw, was killed by a roadside bomb while covering the advance of Iraqi forces.[456] During the same day, PMU announced it had captured eight villages to west of Mosul.[457] The Ministry of Defense's War Media Cell also announced that the 9th Armored Battalion of the Iraqi Army had fully captured al-Yarmouk power station, which supplies power to the whole city.[458] ISIL destroyed a bridge to the Badush village to hinder the Iraqi advance while a coalition airstike on an ISIL convoy in the village killed 16 militants.[459]

26 February

Iraqi forces advanced further on 26 February in order to gain control of the southernmost bridge linking Mosul's eastern and western sides. Clashes were also ongoing in Hawi al-Josaq and al-Tayyaran districts.[460] Iraqi forces later captured al-Tayyaran and al-Maamoun districts. They also entered al-Mansour, al-Shuhadaa and Dawas districts.[461] They also announced they had captured al-Harakiyat, an area south of the city used as a major oil-smuggling route by ISIL.[462]

27 February

Iraqi forces advanced in Hawi al-Jowsaq, and announced they had captured the Fourth Bridge on 27 February.[463] They later regained control of Jowsaq district.[464] The operation command meanwhile announced that they had captured Tal Rumman village in western Mosul.[465] They also entered and clashed with ISIL in Wadi Hajr district.[466] Iraqi troops killed 120 militants and ISIL's designated "emir" of Dawasah district during advances towards central Mosul.[467]

28 February

Iraqi forces advanced towards Mosul's main governmental buildings on 28 February. The CTS continued advancing in Wadi al-Hajr to link up with the Rapid Response Division and Federal Police stationed by the riverside.[468] Jawdat announced during the day that 929 militants had been killed since the start of the assault on west Mosul. al-Jubouri stated that the 15th Division of the Iraqi Army was preparing to storm Tal Afar.[469] Colonel Ahmed al-Jubouri of the Iraqi Army’s Nineveh Operations Command later stated that Iraqi forces had captured the Wadi Hajr district.[470] The Iraqi Defense Ministry's War Media Cell meanwhile announced that Iraqi forces had captured the Damerji village to south of Badush.[471]

March: Battle for southwestern MosulEdit

 
ISIL held areas (grey) in Mosul, as of 1 March 2017.
1 March

On 1 March, an Iraqi general announced that the Iraqi Army had taken control of the last major road to western Mosul, with the 9th Armoured division coming within a kilometer of Mosul's northwestern entrance known as the "Syria Gate". This move effectively cut off western Mosul from Tel Afar. The CTS continued advancing and clashed with ISIL in the Wadi Hajr, al-Mansour, and al-Shuhada districts.[472] The Joint Operations Command meanwhile announced that CTS continued advancing in Jawsaq and Tayaran, while capturing 70% of Wadi Hajr, completely cleared the residential buildings of al-Mamoun district, and advanced in the adjacent Mansour district.[473] Major Adnan Mostafa later stated that Iraqi forces had captured Syria Gate, along with al-Rihani village, besieging Badush.[474] They later captured the underground "Tadmour Base", which had been used by ISIL to train recruits, according to Iraqi commanders.[475]

2 March

On 2 March, ISIL launched a counterattack on Iraqi forces during an overnight rainstorm during the night of 1–2 March, though the fighting subsided by morning.[476] Some residents of the city alleged that an airstrike on the Omar al-Aswad mosque in al-Farouq districts killed a number of civilians and suspected ISIL fighters. A Coalition spokesman, however, stated that he was unaware of such a strike.[477] A captain in Rapid Response Division meanwhile stated that advancing Iraqi forces were forced to retreat from Dawasah to Jawsaq, after falling into an ISIL trap of a fake withdrawal and taking many casualties.[478] Abu Huthaifaq al-Halabi, a cameraman who recorded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's declaration of a "caliphate" in 2014, as well as ISIL's dewan of mosques in Nineveh Governorate, was reported to have been killed during the day, along with his son and an aide.[479][480] On the same day, it was reported that 14,000 civilians fled western Mosul during the day.[481]

3 March

Iraqi forces announced they had captured Wadi Hajr district on 3 March, an advance that allows them to link up all their forces in south of the city.[482] The Red Cross meanwhile stated that a chemical weapon was apparently used in mortar fire on houses in east Mosul, the first such attack during the battle. 12 people were injured in the attack.[483] On the same day, 14,000 people fled western Mosul, bringing the number of displaced civilians from western Mosul up to 46,000 people.[481]

4–5 March

Jawdat stated that the Federal Police had repelled an ISIL attack on the outskirts of the Dawsah district, killing 10 suicide bombers and destroying 5 VBIEDs.[484] The Defense Ministry' War Media Cell stated that an airstrike by the anti-ISIL coalition on an ISIL headquarters in al-Najjar district killed Abu Abdel Rahman al-Ansari, Jund al-Khilafa's official as well as 6 emirs including Abu Khalid, Sabah al-Anzi, Abu Azzam, Abu Hejab, Abu Sayah and Abu Taiba.[485] Iraqi forces resumed their offensive on 5 March, after pausing it for two days because of bad weather. The Rapid Response Division was reported to have captured the Danadan district, coming close to a complex housing governmental buildings in western Mosul. Meanwhile, the CTS pushed through Somood and Tal al-Ruman districts.[486][487] They also clashed with ISIL in Shuhada and Mansour districts.[488] An ISIL leader alleged to be al-Baghdadi’s cousin was reported to have been arrested in the Jowsaq district.[489]

6 March
 
An operation to retake western Mosul, 6 March 2017

Iraqi forces captured the al-Hurriya Bridge (also called "Freedom Bridge") on 6 March.[490] Iraqi military also announced that CTS had captured Somood district.[491] The operation command meanwhile announced that the Rapid Response Division and Federal Police had captured the Nineveh police headquarters, the courts complex and the water, electricity and sewage directorates. The CTS assaulted al-Mansour district after capturing Somood.[492] A Federal Police officer stated that an airstrike by the coalition on the city's train station had by mistake killed 33 former troops held there as captives by ISIL.[493] Airstrikes at various districts were also reported to have killed 22 civilians and wounded 34.[494] PMU meanwhile captured a strategic mountainous region near Al-Ayathia village.[495]

7 March

Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi announced that the Rapid Response Division had captured the Nineveh Governorate complex as well as the Mosul Museum, a central bank branch and a building housing ISIL's main court of justice. The operation command stated that the Federal Police had captured the Nineveh provincial government headquarters. It also announced that Iraqi forces had completely captured Dawasah, Danadan and Tal al-Rumman districts.[496][497] Iraqi forces were also reported to have captured the Turkish consulate in western Mosul.[498] Meanwhile, the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Force announced that government forces had recaptured 60 percent of the western Mosul from ISIL.[499]

8 March

The Iraqi military announced that Iraqi forces repelled an overnight counterattack by ISIL, and had taken full control of the last major road leading to Tal Afar. Major General Ali Kadhem al-Lami of the Federal Police stated that they will clear captured areas in western Mosul during the day.[500] The military later announced that the 9th Armoured Division had captured the Badush prison, known for the Badush prison massacre committed by ISIL in 2014.[501] Yarallah later announced that Iraqi troops along with PMU had fully captured al-Atshana hills and had stormed the residential apartments in the area of Badush prison after taking the prison itself.[502] PMU meanwhile announced that they had also captured the al-Sabuniyah train station on the road between Mosul and Tal Afar and captured Tal Khazaf village near Mosul.[503][504] Yarallah later announced that they had captured Mansur and Shuhada districts.[505]

9 March

Iraqi forces continued to battle ISIL inside Mosul. Yarallah announced that the CTS had captured Moalimin and Silo districts.[506] Iraqi forces also reached the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri from where al-Baghdadi had made a declaration of a "caliphate". PMU meanwhile captured 7 villages to the west of Mosul.[507] It also stated that it had captured Badush power station.[508]

10 March

Iraqi forces launched a raid during nighttime between 9 and 10 March.[509] Iraqi forces were counterattacked in various neighborhoods and in the government complex under their control, with Captain Waleed Ibrahim stating they lost control of two streets.[510] Despite the attacks, they continued advancing towards the Old City, reaching and fighting around the remaining streets near it.[509] They also fought against ISIL around the Assyria Hotel.[511] The operation command, meanwhile, announced that the CTS had captured al-Amil al-Oula along with al-Amil al-Thaniya district.[512] Yarallah later announced that the Rapid Response Division, along with Federal Police, captured Nabi Sheet and Akidat districts.[513] The Defense Ministry's War Media Cell also stated that Iraqi forces had captured 3 villages around Badush, taking control of the western bank of Tigris.[514][515]

11 March

Iraqi forces pushed into the "Old City" centre of Mosul on 11 March, amidst heavy clashes, and advanced in Bab al-Toub district, while CTS advanced inside Aghwat and Risala in the western front, and also advanced in the Nafet and Nablus districts. Meanwhile, Iraqi Army's 16th Division captured 2 villages to west of Mosul, as well as the Khwaja Khalil village, a compound of industry installation and a water facility to the west of Mosul, while the 9th Armoured Division along with PMU captured a part of Badush town and surrounded the Badush cement plant.[516][517] Colonel Emad al-Bayati stated that Iraqi forces had captured al-Mahata area containing a train station and residential complexes. He also stated that they had stormed al-Abar area and had captured Bab al-Bayd and al-Farouq areas to south of Mosul.[518][519] ISIL was also reported by residents of Mosul to have released dozens of prisoners who had been detained for small 'offences' such as selling cigarettes, violating a smoking ban, or being in possession of a mobile phone. The Iraqi state TV meanwhile announced that Iraqi forces had captured about half of western Mosul.[520]

12 March

Brett McGurk announced that the 9th Armoured Division cut off the last road out of Mosul. al-Saadi stated that Iraqi forces controlled more than a third of western Mosul. He also stated that the CTS was battling ISIL inside the al-Jadida and al-Aghawat districts. Meanwhile, the operation command stated that the Rapid Response Division and Federal Police were attacking the Bab al-Toub district.[521] The Military Intelligence Directorate announced that airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition killed Mahmoud Fathi al-Jabouri, a.k.a Abu Rusol, the Administrative Official of ISIL, and also destroyed an explosive plant belonging to the group.[522] The 16th Division, along with the PMU, captured 2 villages northwest of Mosul during the day.[523] The Joint Operations Command later announced that CTS had captured the Aghawat district.[524] Jawdat added that they had also captured Souk al-Arbaa and al-Remah Square in Bab al-Toub, in addition to Mosul al-Jadida (New Mosul) district.[525]

 
An Australian F/A-18 Hornet over Iraq in March 2017
13 March

Iraqi forces faced heavy resistance as they tried to advance in the Old City and to the Iron Bridge. Military officials stated that their advance was slowed due to heavy rain in the morning, though they came within a distance of 100 metres from the bridge.[526] The Joint Operation Command later announced that the CTS had completely captured Nafet and New Mosul districts.[527] Khamis Al-Khanjar, a prominent Iraqi Sunni politician who lobbied the United States and Iraqi governments to ensure that civilian losses in the battle were minimal, warned that civilian casualties were rising due to the accelerated pace of the campaign. He added that more than 3,500 civilians had been killed since the beginning of assault on western Mosul.[528]

14 March

Iraqi forces continued advancing in the Old City and towards the Iron Bridge. A federal police officer announced that the Federal Police had killed Abu Abdul Rahman al-Ansary, ISIL's military commander of the Old City.[529] Iraqi forces captured Mosul's train station, once one of the main rail hubs of Iraq. Jawdat also stated that they had captured the nearby bus station.[530] They also captured the Baghdad Garage district.[531] Iraqi forces were also reported to have arrested ISIL's Industry Minister and his assistant. Meanwhile, Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces had captured the Bab al Jadid and Bab al Bidh areas, and were in control of 90% of the Old City.[532] Iraqi forces also captured 2 villages to the northwest of Mosul.[533]

15 March

The Federal Police announced on 15 March that they had captured the Iron Bridge, with the Rapid Response Division, putting them in complete control of three out of five bridges in Mosul, and also advanced to the al-Nuri Mosque. Iraqi officers stated that cloudy weather was slowing their advance, due to unavailability of air cover. Staff Brigadier Falah al-Obeidi stated that the CTS had captured the Dor al-Sikak and al-Nafut areas, the sites of ISIL's main weapons facilities, located to the west of the Old City.[534] The International Organisation for Migration stated that the number of civilians who fled from western Mosul rose to 100,000.[535] Samir Dawoud al-Mohsen, an officer of the 9th Armored Division stated that Iraqi forces had begun to advance on Bab al-Bayd district.[536] Iraq’s military intelligence service stated that 3 senior ISIL leaders were killed in airstrikes on al-Jadida district by the Iraqi Air Force, including: Abu Anas al-Jubouri, who was an official of the suicide bomber units, Mohamed Fathy al-Jubouri, who was a military official of the group, as well as his aide, Ahmed Nawwaf al-Jubouri.[537] The 9th Armored Division also captured the town of Badush, as well as a nearby village, taking control of the entire Badush region. The CTS also advanced in the Nablus, Yabsat, Risala, and Wadi al-Ayn districts.[538]

 
Iraqi Army fire a heavy machine at ISIS positions in Mosul, 16 March 2017
16–17 March

The Federal Police and Rapid Response Division continued to clash with ISIL in Old City, coming within 500 meters of the al-Nuri Mosque, though their advance was slowed by heavy rain. Iraqi forces also captured a hospital during the day.[539] An ISIL attack on Badush was also repelled during the day.[540] Iraqi forces continued advancing in the Old City on 17 March, trying to gain control of a main road used by ISIL to launch VBIEDs at their positions. A spokesman of the Federal Police stated they had captured al-Basha mosque, al-Adala street and Bab al-Saray market.[541] Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi also stated that CTS was advancing in the Risala and Nablus districts.[542]

18 March

Jawdat announced on 18 March that they had captured the al-Arbiaa market and a grain silo overlooking the Old City.[543] Adel Ahmed, captain of the Federal Police, meanwhile stated that they had captured al-Kur and al-Tawafa districts, allowing their use as corridors for fleeing civilians.[544][545] Captain Yunis Mohammed stated that ISIL had launched a chemical attack on al-Adala, Bab al-Saray and Shaer Nineveh. He stated that 12 people were injured in the attack.[546]

19 March

A police spokesman stated that Federal Police and Rapid Response Division had resumed their advance after pausing it due to bad weather. Iraqi forces clashed with ISIL to close in on the al-Nuri mosque during the day. Iraq's Defense Ministry meanwhile stated that the anti-ISIL coalition destroyed an ISIL command center, resulting in deaths of 6 foreign ISIL leaders including Abdul Kareem al-Rusi, a Russian leader who was the head of Tareq Bin Zayad brigade. Other leaders killed in the airstrike were identified as Salih al-Ahmed, Abu Duaa al-Magribi, Yousif Uwni, Abdulla Humoud and Milad Seiro. A police statement also announced the capture of Husam Sheet al-Jabouri, a local chief of ISIL's Diwan al-Hisba in Bab al-Sijin area. The Joint Operations Command announced that CTS had captured the Nablus district. It also stated that the 9th Armoured Division had captured al-Mulawtha area as well as a village to the north of Badush.[547][548] A security source stated to the Arabic news-channel Skypress that they had also captured Khalid ibn al-Walid and Bab al-Sijin districts.[549][550]

20 March

On 20 March, Federal Police and Rapid Response Division resumed their advance on al-Nuri mosque after fog and rain in the early morning, coming within 1600 feet (488 m) of the mosque.[551][552] Iraqi forces stated that they had captured a residential complex near Badush cement plant.[553][554] An Iraqi interior ministry official also stated that an Iraqi police colonel and eight other officers were captured by ISIL fighters after they ran out of ammunition during clashes in Bab Jadid district in the early hours.[555] Rapid Response Division's media officer Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi denied any police officers were captured though some Federal Police sources stated they had been killed.[556] Meanwhile, Iraqi airstrikes targeted several IS locations in Tal Afar and Sinjar killed 47 militants and destroyed five booby-trapped vehicles, according to the Ministry of Defense. Another 20 ISIL members were also killed in Tal Afar, the ministry added.[557]

21 March

Iraqi forces of the Interior Ministry continued battling inside the Old City where snipers were deployed to target the militants while CTS clashed in the western front on 21 March. The operation command announced that CTS had captured al-Risala and Shaqaq Nablus in the west.[558] Yahya Rasool stated that Iraqi forces controlled about 60% of western Mosul. Brigadier Saad Maan also stated that bodies of the colonel and two officers kidnapped a day earlier were found, but denied they had been captured.[559] PMU also announced that it had captured the residential complex, as well as two villages and Arheiya area near Badush. They also stated that they had reached the outskirts of western Mosul.[560][561]

22 March

ISIL shelled areas captured by Iraqi forces, resulting in civilian casualties. The Federal Police blocked off roads in the Old City with earthen barricades to prevent VBIEDs from attacking their locations. A CTS officer meanwhile stated that CTS was advancing in Yabsaat district and the old industrial area.[562] Iraqi military intelligence announced that Hassan Mahmoud al-Farahat, an ISIL commander of the group's artillery brigade, was killed in coalition airstrikes on his vehicle in al-Tank district along with his wife Iman al-Toukhi, who was a medical officer of the group.[563] During the day, Yarallah announced that the 9th Armoured Division had captured two villages in the northern Badush district.[564] The Defense Ministry stated that they also captured an ISIL command center in the region, killing more than 40 militants including a senior leader known as Abu Adul-Rahman.[565]

23 March

Iraqi forces paused their advance in the morning on 23 March, due to cloudy weather. A police spokesman later said Federal Police reinforcements had moved towards the Old City and were preparing to storm it.[566] Civil defense officials and locals meanwhile stated that dozens of civilians were buried under rubble after airstrikes in Mosul Jadida district a week earlier. Civil Defense chief Brigadier Mohammed Al-Jawari stated that 40 bodies were recovered while one Iraqi official put total casualties at 137. The coalition stated that the allegations will be investigated.[567] Another 100 civilians were reported to have been killed in airstrikes nearby.[568]

24–25 March

It was reported that Iraqi forces would deploy new tactics, as advances had slowed in western Mosul. U.S. Army Brigadier General John Richardson said that they might open another front on the Old City, to put further pressure on the militants. Brigadier General Yahya Rasool meanwhile stated that Iraqi forces had advanced, to recapture areas outside the Old City, including al-Yabsat.[569] Civilians who fled ISIL-controlled areas, during the night between 23 and 24 March, reported that ISIL had fired upon them as they tried to flee Mosul.[570] Meanwhile, Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights stated that about 500 civilians had been killed in coalition airstrikes over the previous few days.[571] Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces had captured an ISIL command center in the Old City.[572] A Federal Police spokesman stated on 25 March that military operations had been halted, due to rising civilian casualties.[573][574] The Coalition confirmed that it had carried out the airstrikes in al-Jadida, a week earlier, where civilian casualties were reported.[575]

26 March

Iraqi forces continued clashing in the city despite reports of the battle being paused. Iraqi military denied that coalition airstrikes had killed the civilians in al-Jadida a week earlier, claiming that the houses were rigged by ISIL and 61 bodies were found. Eyewitnesses, locals and some government officials contradicted these claims. During the day, Iraqi forces clashed with ISIL around al-Nuri mosque. Lt. Col. Ali Jassem of the 9th Armoured Division stated that Iraqi forces had raided and entered the Badush cement plant to where some ISIL fighters had retreated to.[576][577] Yarallah later announced that the CTS had captured Wadi al-Ayn and Rajm al-Hadid districts. The Badush cement plant was also captured by the 9th Armoured Division during the day.[578][579] Iraqi forces were also stated to have captured the Orouba district and the industrial zone in west of the city.[580] It was also reported that they had captured the Badush Dam.[581]

27–28 March

Iraqi forces stated on 27 March that they had launched new assaults in the Old City area with the Federal Police stating that they had started to advance in its southwestern part along with the Rapid Response Division. A police officer added that the attacks were the start of operations to besiege the area.[582] Jawdat stated on the next day that Iraqi forces had tried to storm al-Midan and Suq al Sha'areen districts. Meanwhile, Townsend stated that the anti-ISIL coalition probably had a role in the airstrike that killed civilians in al-Jadida, adding that the civilians might have been gathered there by ISIL.[583] A train station and the football stadium were reported to be captured by the Rapid Response Division. Some commanders of the ERD units meanwhile were critical of the Federal Police, with one officer stating that some of them deployed to hold newly captured areas in overnight raids kept withdrawing and ceding them to ISIL.[584]

29–31 March

On 29 March, Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces were besieging the area around al-Nuri mosque and had captured the Qadheeb al-Ban district as well as al-Malab sports stadium. He also stated that the Federal Police had killed ISIL's health minister, Saadallah Abu Shuaib and his two guards near the Republican Hospital. Iraqi military's media office announced that the Iraqi Air Force had destroyed a security headquarters and two workshops making VBIEDs and booby-traps in Tal Afar.[585][586] Meanwhile, US Army General Joseph Votel stated that 284 members of Iraqi security forces had been killed in the battle for western Mosul while more than 1,600 had been wounded in addition to the 490 killed and more than 3,000 injured during the battle for eastern Mosul.[587] On the next day, it was reported that Iraqi forces had captured a village along with its train station to west of Badush.[588][589] A spokesman of the anti-ISIL coalition meanwhile stated that less than 1,000 fighters were estimated to be left in western Mosul.[590] Mosul's police chief stated on 31 March that ISIL had fired rockets into eastern Mosul. Clashes occurred in the Old City during the day, but Iraqi forces didn't attempt a new push.[591]

April: Slow block-by-block Iraqi advanceEdit

4–5 April

Airstrikes resumed on 4 April after the weather cleared. Iraqi military stated that Iraqi Air Force killed dozens of militants in airstrikes. Iraqi Military Intelligence meanwhile stated that 4 ISIL leaders had also been killed in airstrikes on al-Tanak district by the anti-ISIL coalition. It added that the commanders in charge of booby traps, Arab suicide fighters and child recruitment were among those killed in the airstrikes.[592][593] Some intelligence sources stated that gas bombs launched by ISIL in Rajm al-Hadid district had killed 6 civilians and injured 29.[594] Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced on 5 April that CTS forces had captured al-Maghrib district, west of Mosul's old city center. They also advanced in Aabar and Matahin districts. The Federal Police and the Rapid Response Division continued to clash with ISIL on the southern and western front lines at the edge of the old city center.[595]

6 April

On 6 April, the operation command announced the capture of al-Yarmouk district, killing 42 militants in the process.[596] It also added that the anti-ISIL coalition conducted airstrikes on an ISIL headquarters of suicide bombers, resulting in its destruction as well as killing of dozens of militants including some non-Iraqi leaders.[597] Meanwhile, an Iraqi helicopter providing support to the Federal Police in the Old City was shot down by ISIL, resulting in the deaths of its two pilots. It was the first aircraft shot down by ISIL during the battle. The joint operations forces stated that it had crashed in eastern parts of Mosul.[598] Meanwhile, Iraqi News quoted Maj. Gen. Najm al-Jubouri claiming that Iraqi forces controlled over 90% of the "western axis".[599]

7 April

Iraqi security sources stated on 7 April that they had captured three more villages to the west of Mosul. Iraqi army officer Jabbar Hassan stated that the 9th Armoured Division had captured Ghazliwa after storming it in the morning. Yarallah stated that they had also captured the villages of Rihaniyah Qadima and Rihaniyah Jadida.[600] The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs meanwhile stated that over 264,000 people had been displaced from West Mosul since the beginning of the Iraqi military operations to capture it.[601]

8–10 April

Mosul residents stated that ISIL had killed dozens of residents in the last few weeks.[602] An army official stated on 9 April that the Governor of Nineveh Governorate, Nofal Hammadi al-Sultan, had escaped an assassination attempt on his convoy in east Mosul, with no injuries reported in the attack.[603] A suspected chlorine gas attack by ISIL in the al-Hadba district of east Mosul was reported on 10 April, with an Iraqi security sources stating that 4 civilians had been killed and 6 had been injured.[604] Meanwhile, Mutahin district was announced as captured by the operation command on 9 April.[605] On the next day, it also announced that CTS had completely captured Yarmouk district along with Sikak.[606]

13 April

The Joint Operations Command announced on 13 April that CTS had completely captured the district of Aabar. A security source also stated that Iraqi forces continued to clash with ISIL in the nearby Matahin and Urouba districts while also capturing most of Tanak district. Iraqi military also issued new instructions to civilians in the remaining ISIL-held districts to flee to avoid being caught in crossfire by spreading in other buildings. Advances of the Iraqi forces had slowed down in the Old City as they had limited use of bombs and were relying more on sniper fire.[607] Jawdat meanwhile announced that the Federal Police had destroyed ISIL's command and control headquarters in the Old City. He added that a unit of the Iraqi military had killed 13 militants and destroyed 7 VBIEDs during a raid in the area.[608] Iraqi forces announced during the day that Abdullah al-Badrani (also known as Abu Ayoub al-Atar), one of the seniormost religious leaders of the group had been killed in an airstrike by the anti-ISIL coalition.[609] Jawdat added that two other leaders of the group, including Abdul Qadir Mahmoud al-Hamdouni, were killed in another area. During the day, Yarallah announced that Iraqi forces had captured three more villages in the outskirts of West Mosul. Iraqi Army also announced the capture of the western entrance of the city.[610]

14–15 April

An Iraqi military source claimed that Gulmurod Khalimov had been killed in an airstrike in west Mosul a week earlier.[611] Jawdat stated that the Federal Police had killed Mahmoud Ali Mahmoud, a militant leader and also took control over a network of tunnels beneath the Old City. Iraqi Defense Ministry meanwhile stated that Iraqi forces had taken control of a booby trap and VBIED-manufacturing factory after capturing al-Maloutha, located in the right side of Mosul.[612] An Iraqi military officer meanwhile stated that ISIL had launched a gas attack in the form of a rocket filled with chlorine on Iraqi forces in al-Aabar district, injuring seven soldiers.[613]

16 April

Jawdat stated on 16 April that Iraqi forces had advanced 200 metres inside the Old City and took new positions near al-Nuri mosque after the Federal Police and the Rapid Response Division advanced from the area of Qadheeb al-Ban during the early morning.[614] Joint Operations Command spokesperson Gen. Yahya Rasoul stated that Iraqi forces had fully encircled the Old City area while CTS spokesman, Sabah al-Noaman stated that 2,900 ISIL members had been killed in the previous few days in western Mosul.[615] Lieutenant-Colonel Abdul Salam al-Jubouri announced on the next day that Abu Quhafa, the leader of the group's "services bureau", had been killed by the Rapid Reaction Forces a day earlier.[616] Meanwhile, it was also reported that all bridges in and out of western Mosul had become impassable due to flooding, resulting in suspension of aid supplies and escape routes for fleeing civilians being cut.[617] The Federal Police accused ISIL of shelling Iraqi troops with chemical weapons agents in Urouba and Bab Jadid districts, causing minor injuries.[618]

17 April

A media officer of the Federal Police stated on 17 April that they were engaging ISIL in heavy door-to-door clashes in the Old City and had advanced in the area, while a police spokesman stated that the troops were closing in on the al-Nuri mosque.[619] Army Captain Jabbar Hassan stated that heavy clashes had erupted in al-Tanak and al-Thawra districts, with two Iraqi soldiers killed and Iraqi forces having made rapid advances in al-Tanak.[620] Lieutenant-Colonel Abdul Salam al-Jubouri announced that Aziz Ibrahim Faris al-Anzi, ISIL' s head of security, had been killed in an airstrike near the Republican Hospital in the Al-Sihha district. He also added that another leader by the name of Ali Ibrahim Mohamed was killed in clashes with CTS in al-Tanak district.[616] The United Nations meanwhile stated that over 493,000 had been displaced since the beginning of the battle with about 500,000 still estimated to remain in ISIL-held districts of the city.[621]

18 April

A senior official stated on 18 April that more than 60 ISIL militants including a commander were killed in clashes with Iraqi forces who advanced in al-Farouk area in the vicinity of al-Nuri mosque. They also destroyed five armored vehicles, eight motocycles fitted with bombs and six anti-aircraft batteries.[622] Jawdat stated that they had captured a building being used as a health office by the group and had erected barricades around al-Farouk district.[623] Iraqi state sources claimed the group only controlled six districts though this couldn't be independently verified. CBS News reported that an Iraqi unit with American and Australian advisers had been hit by a rocket containing mustard agent, injuring 25 Iraqis though the advisers were unharmed.[624] Army Captain Khader al-Asadi stated that 16 civilians were killed in al-Thawra district by a suicide bomber that originally tried to target CTS troops stationed there but detonated in a residential area after he failed to reach them.[625] The Iraqi Army built a new pontoon bridge over the Tigris river, opening an escape route for fleeing civilians.[626]

20 April

A CTS spokesman announced that Iraqi forces had captured al-Thawra district while the Joint Operations Command stated that they had also captured al-Nasr district. Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces had killed a senior ISIL operative in charge of the chemical weapons in Mosul, in a guided-missile strike in the Zanjili district.[627] Iraq's Military Intelligence Directorate issued a statement announcing that a coalition airstrike had killed the group's head of intelligence, Ahmed Khalid Najim, known as Abu Obeida, in Tayaran district.[628] He also stated that Abu Abdulrahman, Baghdadi's first aide, was killed in a bombing by Iraqi forces. Other commanders killed by Iraqi forces are Abul Walid al-Tunisi, who was killed near the al-Awsad mosque in the Old City along with four of his bodyguards, a Russian commander known as Abo Maria, and a military chief by the name of Abu Baraa al-Dagestani, along with his aide Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Zamari, near the Fifth Bridge, as well as a relative of Baghdadi.[629][630]

22–25 April

Military statements announced that CTS had captured al-Thawra and al-Saha districts. CTS commander Maan Saadi stated that the forces were linking up with the Federal Police, moving on the Old City from a different direction to complete its encirclement. Iraqi forces also stated that half of al-Tanak district was still held by ISIL.[631] Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command announced on 25 April that CTS had completely captured al-Tanak district at the western edge of Mosul. Meanwhile, the troops inside the Old City pushed reinforcements into the area.[632]

27–30 April

CTS spokesman Sabah al-Noaman stated that security forces had killed more than 500 militants and needed to capture four more districts before fully capturing the city.[633] The Pentagon stated on 29 April that one U.S. service member was killed by an explosive device outside Mosul.[634][635] The killed American was later identified as 25-year old 1st Lieutenant Weston Lee from Bluffton, Georgia.[636] An Iraqi rights activist stated that at least 15 Iraqi civilians were killed when a warplane struck a house in western Mosul.[637] Meanwhile, military sources stated that the Federal Police on 29 April had retaken positions lost after attacks on two positions on the edge of the Old City killed a Federal Police brigade commander and 18 other members of the Interior Ministry force a day earlier. Iraqi army's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi claimed that Mosul would be completely captured within three weeks.[638]

May: Slow progress around Old City center and assault from the northwestEdit

3–4 May

Iraqi forces fought to recapture the Old City area on 3 May, tightening their control around the al-Nuri Mosque.[639] The 9th Armoured Division and Rapid Response Division backed by the Emergency Response Division of the Iraqi Interior Ministry opened a new front against ISIL-held districts on 4 May, assaulting them from the north in order to accelerate the military operation which had slowed down to a great extent and allow other units to speed up the capture of the remaining districts. The Federal Police stated that they had advanced 1,400 metres and were pushing in the Hulela area towards the northwestern Haramat district.[640][641] The troops were reported to have captured a village and a gas factory in the assault.[642] Meanwhile, the United Nations stated that over 419,000 people had fled western Mosul since the assault on it began.[643] The Joint Operations Command later stated that Iraqi forces had captured most of Mushairfah district including a water purification facility, taking new positions near residential buildings of Harmat while other troops cut off supply lines between ISIL-held Kanisah district and Najjar as well as 17 Tamouz districts.[644] According to an ISIL security source, 81 civilians, including 29 women and 18 children, were killed and another 86 wounded during a missile attack on the El-Vela School in 17 Tamouz (17 July) district of western Mosul, while Iraqi forces denied targeting civilians, saying the building was being used by ISIL as a bomb factory.[645] But it was later that an Iraqi federal police source admitted that at least 80 civilians were killed by an air raid in the area.[646] An Anti-Terror Unit Captain Ali el-Behadili meanwhile stated that Habib Abdulcebbar, who was responsible for ISIL's war administration, had been killed.[647]

5 May

Iraqi forces captured three villages after their assault from the north.[648][649] An army statement announced that Iraqi forces had captured the Second Mushairfah district along with the Church and Mikhail's Monastery area. Brigadier General Walid Khalifa, deputy commander of the 9th Brigade, added that Iraqi forces had killed about thirty militants in addition to destroying five VBIEDs before they could be used.[650]

6 May

Iraqi security official Safa al-Behadli stated that nine security officials were killed and three others were injured when ISIL attacked using four bomb-laden vehicles in west Mosul, also resulting in destruction of two military vehicles.[651] Iraqi military announced during the day that they had fully captured the entire Mushairfah district though some officers stated that the fighting was still ongoing.[652]

7 May

Iraqi forces met severe resistance from ISIL on 7 May while trying to push into the few remaining districts held by the group. Iraqi officers meanwhile stated that reinforcements from the Rapid Response Division had arrived in northwest Mosul to help clear areas on the banks of Tigris.[652] Jawdat stated that Khaled ibn al-Waleed, a prominent Libyan ISIL leader and five of his sentries were killed when security troops bombed ISIL's police headquarters. Another 40 ISIL members were killed in police bombardment on al-Zanjili district.[653]

8 May

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said that 3,320 militants were killed and 525 villages and regions were recaptured since security operations were launched on 19 February to retake western Mosul from Islamic State militants. Iraqi military intelligence stated that Jassim al-Basri (also known as Abu Mohamed), ISIL's leader for Mushairfah and Haramat districts, was killed by an anti-ISIL coalition airstrike.[654][655] The Joint Operations Command announced that the 9th Armoured Division and Rapid Response Division had captured the Haramat district. A commander of the 9th Division stated that they had also captured the district's residential buildings, killing 17 militants. Meanwhile, Iraqi forces advanced toward 30 Tamouz district, with Federal Police advancing to the adjacent al-Iqtisadi district and opening a new front in southern 30 Tamouz. The CTS meanwhile advanced in Wadi Ikab, seizing most of the area.[656]

9 May

Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that CTS had captured the Northern Industrial Area while a small district of 30 Tamouz had also been captured.[657] Yarallah in a separate statement added that CTS had captured the northern part of the Wadi Ikab industrial area.[658] According to a local police officer, ISIL militants attacked Iraqi police sites, killing one police officer and injuring four others. Another eight militants were killed in the clashes. Three PMU members were killed and six injured when ISIL attack their position in west Mosul.[659] A spokesman of the Emergency Response Division said that 250 militants had been killed in the Haramat district in the previous five days.[660]

10 May

Major General Maan al-Saadi announced on 10 May that CTS had captured the district of al-Maamel in the center of the right coast of Mosul. Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Asadi meanwhile announced that an ISIL military commander for Islah al-Zeraie district, Abu Ayyub al-Shami and three of his companions had been killed during the clashes.[661][662] After capturing Maamel, Iraqi forces stormed the Islah al-Zeraie district. They were also reported to be in control of half of the Kanisah district.[663] Nineveh Liberation Operation commander, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said that soldiers from the army’s 9th Armored Division had killed 1,321 Daesh militants, including senior commanders, since February. Moreover, 139 explosive vehicles had been destroyed, 11 unmanned aerial vehicles shot down, another 61 militant hideouts, 10 bomb-making workshops and five command centers were also demolished. Separately, 20 ISIL members were arrested by police in the Karamah, Khadra and Kokceli neighborhoods.[664]

11 May

Iraqi forces pushed further to besiege the Old City center. Jawdat stated that the Rapid Response Division backed by armoured vehicles advanced in Iqtisadiyn district, killing many militants and destroying 17 of their vehicles including 5 booby-trapped ones. Commander Abdul Ghani al-Asadi stated that CTS had captured a large part of Islah al-Ziraie district but refrained from capturing it completely to avoid civilian casualties.[665] Lt Gen Othman al-Ghanimi meanwhile claimed the rest of Mosul will be captured by the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which is to begin on 26 May.[666]

12 May

The Operations Command announced on 12 May that CTS had captured the first part of al-Islam al-Ziraie and had started a push into the second part. In a separate statement, it stated that the Rapid Response Division backed by Iraqi Army had cleared the Haramat district while advancing in Iqtisadiyn and 17th Tamouz districts.[667] Meanwhile, Jawdat stated that the Federal Police had killed two key ISIL leaders, Abu Ali al-Basrawi and Abu Yousef al-Masry along with his assistant Radwan al-Muslawi. The Operations Command separately stated that the 9th Division, 15th Infantry Division and the Rapid Response Division had captured Haramat al-Thaniya district during the day.[668] The operation command later announced that Iraqi forces had captured that CTS had captured the Islah al-Zeraie district. PMU separately announced that it had captured 21 villages around al-Qairawan, killing 77 militants and destroying 15 VBIEDs.[669]

14 May

The Joint Operations Command announced om 13 May that the 16th Infantry Division of the Iraqi Army had completely captured the Hawi al-Kanisah district.[670] Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul stated on 14 May that ISIL controlled no more than 9 percent of west Mosul.[671] Joint Operations Command stated that CTS stormed the Ureibi and Rifaie districts in the early hours, while the 9th Armored Division along with the Emergency Response Division attacked 17 Tamouz.[672] The 9th Division managed to destroy the defensive lines of ISIL in the northern part of 17 Tamouz.[673] Udai al-Khadran, mayor of Al Khalis, said that he had received confirmation that an unnamed ISIL senior commander was killed in an airstrike along with four of his aides in western Mosul.[674]

15 May

The Joint Operations Command announced that CTS had captured the Ureibi district while Iraqi forces clashed against militants in Rifaie, 17 Tamouz and Iqtisadiyn, all of which were partly under their control.[675] Meanwhile, Federal Police chief Shaker Jawdat was quoted saying that his forces killed 173 militants including a leader during recent clashes in addition to destroying 40 booby-trapped cars.[676]

16 May

The Joint Operations Command Brigadier General Yahya Rasool stated, during a press conference, that government forces control 89.5 percent of western Mosul and killed 16,467 ISIL members since the start of operation. According to him, 679 booby-trapping vehicles, 11 ISIL headquarters, 47 drones and 76 booby-trapping workshops were destroyed, while 6,661 bombs and 217 explosive belts were defused. He also stated that ISIL controlled only about 12 square kilometers of area in Mosul while Iraqi planes dropped leaflets telling civilians the battle was nearly won, also telling them to stop using all vehicles to avoid being misidentified as ISIL fighters. Col. John Dorrian of United States Air Force separately stated that the group was near total defeat.[677][678] Meanwhile, CTS said that troops killed ISIL media official Jalal Ayoub Shehab, a Syrian national, in Iktisadiyeen district. Security forces also arrested a 25-member ISIL cell in the al-Sukkar and al-Seddiq districts, north of Mosul.[679] A security source claimed seven ISIL members, including a commander in charge of booby-trapped vehicle attacks, were killed when unidentified fighter jets bombarded a house in the Iqtisadiyn district.[680]

17 May

The Joint Operations Command announced that CTS had completely captured the Rifaie district. They also advanced in Iqtisadiyn and 17 Tamouz districts, large parts of both districts were under their control.[681] Fierce clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIL militants in regions of Bab al-Toub, al-Mekkawi and Bab al-Jadid left 20 militants dead and others injured, Federal Police officer Lt. Gen. Odai Sami said.[682] Meanwhile, more than 25 militants were killed in western Mosul, according to the Rapid Response forces.[683] The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that about 275,000 civilians remained in areas still under ISIL control.[684] A Federal Police officer meanwhile stated that 3 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber in al-Rifaie during the day, while four police officers and three CTS soldiers were killed in Ureibi in two car-bomb attacks. Iraqi officer Sadoun Fahd stated that coalition airstrikes targeting a group of militants preoaring for an attack against Iraqi forces had killed 25 civilians.[685]

18 May

The Joint Operations Command announced on 18 May that the Federal Police backed by the Rapid Response Division had captured the Iqtisadiyn district.[686] Federal Police chief Shaker Jawdat said his forces are in control of over 291 square kilometers of western Mosul and ISIL members set sewage networks at the south of 17 Tamuz district on fire with petroleum to prevent drones from tracking its members.[687] A PMU commander stated that his forces have captured the Washington military airbase, west of Mosul, while ten militants were killed in the Ain Fathi village.[688] Meanwhile, CTS managed to storm al-Najjar district, recapturing half of it.[689]

19 May

Brig. Gen. Mohamed al-Jubouri, from the Rapid Response forces, stated on 19 May that the troops repelled an attack by militants who used 20 booby-trapped vehicles. Twelve militants were killed at Tamuz, Mesherfa, Najjar and al-Rifaie neighborhoods when troops repulsed the attack.[690] Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that CTS recaptured Rawshan area in northwestern Mosul.[691] ISIL militants from west Mosul fired five mortar missiles on al-Ghabat region, eastern Mosul, leaving two police personnel wounded, according to a security source.[692] War Media Cell said that 9th armored division retaken the northern part of 17 Tamuz district and dozens of ISIL fighters were killed in airstrikes in western Mosul.[693] An Iraqi official meanwhile said that over 526,000 had been displaced since the beginning of operation to capture West Mosul.[694]

20 May

The Joint Operation Command announced on 20 May that the Federal Police and Rapid Response Division had captured the 17 Tammouz (17 July) district while the CTS had captured the al-Rabie district.[695] Iraqi Federal Police said they retook 80 targets, killing 172 ISIL snipers and destroying 373 booby-trapped vehicles since the military operation began in western Mosul. Another 66 militants were killed, 13 vehicles and nine motorbikes were destroyed in the Iqtisadiyeen and 17 Tamuz districts.[696] Iraqi special forces spokesman Sabah al-Numan announced that his forces had captured all areas assigned to them and had thus completed their mission, declaring that only eight square kilometers of Mosul remained under militant control. He added that they'll carry out any further operations if so ordered.[697]

21 May

On 21 May, twenty militants, including senior leaders of Arab nationalities and Western nationals, were killed trying to reach an old bridge in Mosul.[698] Lt. Gen.Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, CTS commander, said that his forces had captured 47 out of 74 residential districts from ISIL in western Mosul, killing hundreds of militants.[699] At least 17 Iraqi soldiers were killed and others wounded in four suicide attacks carried out by ISIL in the northwestern Mosul, a local security official said.[700]

22 May

Iraqi military announced on 22 May that CTS had captured al-Najjar district.[701] Iraqi Federal Police forces meanwhile pounded ISIL targets in Mosul's Old City, as they prepared to storm the area.[702] Unknown gunmen abducted the Nimrud neighborhood chief Khazaal Theyab al-Duleimi in east of Mosul, along with two others, according to a security source.[703] It was later reported that the gunmen were from Hashd al-Shabaki, a militia group within the PMU.[704] Two civilians were killed by an ISIL mortar missile and a bomb blast in Hawi al-Kanisa district, according to a security source and local residents.[705] Meanwhile, seven ISIL militants were killed when a drone from the U.S.-led coalition pounded a house in Zanjili district.[706]

23-24 May

On 23 May, the military engineers installed a new bridge across Tigris to allow the deployment of reinforcements ahead of what was described as a "final assault" on the remaining militant-controlled areas.[707] Federal Police declared that they killed Abul Hassan al-Iraqi, in charge of military engineering, and Mohamed Mejbal abu Othman, military leader of western Mosul during an operation.[708] Meanwhile, local residents reported that eighteen civilians and nine ISIL members were killed in an airstrike that targeted a house in Haderet al-Sada region in the Old City.[709] Federal Police stated on the next day they have taken control of a building used by the ISIL called "legislative court of the soldiers state" in 17 Tamuz district, killing six ISIL members, while destroying a vehicle and three motorbikes.[710] Federal Police Capt. Ahmed al-Obeidi said that dozens of militants were killed, including three suicide bombers, following the incursion into the al-Zanjili neighborhood. The Joint Operations Command stated that security forces were in control of about 97 percent of west Mosul.[711]

26–27 May

The Iraqi Air Force dropped leaflets on 26 May asking civilians of the Old City to evacuate.[712] Joint Operations Command announced on 27 May that Iraqi forces had begun their attack on remaining ISIL-held districts, with the Iraqi Army attacking al-Shifaa district and the Republican Hospital (Al-Jamhuri Hospital) situated near the Third Bridge (Alshuhada Bridge), the Federal Police attacking al-Zanjili and the CTS attacking al-Sihha al-Oula.[713] The Tasnim News Agency quoted the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stating that Shaaban Nassiri, a senior commander of the corps, was killed during military operations to capture the areas west of Mosul.[714] Meanwhile, an Iraqi military statement announced the death of two Iraqi colonels and also that they killed 14 ISIL fighters during the clashes in Zanjili district.[715][716]

28 May

On 28 May, the advance of Iraqi forces inside Mosul was reported to have slowed down. Iraqi officers stated that they had captured the Ibn Sina Hospital, part of the medical complex in al-Shifaa district.[717] Al-Arabiya reported that the Third Bridge and the Mosul international hotel had been captured by Iraqi forces. Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi meanwhile stated that ISIL had begun to use women to defend the areas under its control.[718] An officer of the Rapid Response Division told Anadolu Agency that 13 soldiers were killed in an ambush after seizing the Tibb al-Mosul town to the city's west.[719] A local source said that twenty civilians were killed, while more than 25 others were wounded in an airstrike launched by the anti-ISIL coalition at al-Farouq street and Hadiret al-Sadah, north of the Old City.[720]

29-31 May

Prime Minister al-Abadi claimed on 29 May that the battle was in its "last stages" and Iraqi forces controlled 95 percent of Mosul.[721] Iraqi Federal Police said a drone shelling left 14 militants dead and nine motorbikes destroyed in the Old City.[722] Media reports stated that the city would be completely under Iraqi control by 30 May.[723] Iraqi Police forces took an ISIL-run commando training facility in Zanjili district.[724] al-Saadi meanwhile stated that CTS had captured most of the Sihaa district, controlling about 70 percent of it.[725] Meanwhile, 28 Iraqi security personnel were reported to have been killed during 29 and 30 May.[726] OCHA stated that more than 600,000 people had fled west Mosul since the operations to retake it began, leaving around 180,000 civilians still living in ISIL-controlled areas.[727] It was reported on 31 May through accounts of nearby residents that the group had started closing off the streets around al-Nuri mosque in anticipation of the battle with Iraqi forces, with dozens of fighters taking up positions around it.[728]

June: Battle for Central MosulEdit

1 June

Military sources reported on 1 June that more than 140 civilians had been killed during the previous six days, while trying to flee western Mosul, with 70 civilians reported to have died in an airstrike on 30 May. More than 750,000 had been displaced since the beginning of the battle, according to the UN.[729] Iraqi Federal Police forces killed 12 militants in Zanjili district.[730] Jawdat stated that they had surrounded all ISIL posts in Zanjili after seizing their communication devices and had shelled them with shoulder mounted rockets. Iraqi Federal Police forces were also reported to have pushed deep into the al-Zanjili and al-Shefaa districts (advancing 600 meters), and to be approaching the Bab Sinjar district.[731] Seven civilians were reported to have been killed and 23 injured from ISIL shelling while fleeing Zanjili. Residents stated that due to the advances made by Iraqi forces, ISIL had begun moving out prisoners from the Medical City area in the northern part of the Shefaa district, and also ordered families in Zanjili to move to the Old City to prevent their escape.[732] Meanwhile, Colonel Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for CJTF-OIR, said that ISIL militants controlled less than ten square kilometers of Mosul.[733] United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad stated that 163 civilians were reported killed by the militants during the day.[734]

2 June

A military statement announced on 2 June that the CTS had captured the Sihha district.[735] Iraqi forces had also managed to capture parts of Zanjili and al-Shifaa.[736] An officer from the Iraqi Federal Police said it killed an ISIL Hisbah (vigilantism) official nicknamed Abu Abdul-Rahman in western Mosul. He added that 500 militants still remained in the Old City.[737] CTS spokesperson Sabah al-Nu'man said that 120 ISIL militants were killed in the operation to retake al-Sihha district from the ISIL.[738] Lt. Dargam al-Haydari of Rapid Response Division told Anadolu Agency that 120 civilians had been killed in the previous two days by ISIL, some in executions and others in bomb attacks.[739]

3 June

Iraqi forces were accused of using white phosphorus after a Kurdish TV station on 3 June captured an explosion with a bright white plume of smoke, typical of white phosphorus attacks.[740] Iraqi officials announced that they would investigate the allegations.[741] Lieutenant Ali al-Karbalai of the Rapid Response Forces told Anadolu Agency that 32 Iraqi soldiers had been killed in the previous day, including 12 by three bombers in al-Shifaa and thirteen by a series of car bombings in Zanjili.[742] At least 230 civilians were reported to have been killed over the previous two days by militants, as well as Iraqi fighter jets in western Mosul, per a local source.[743]

5 June

Jawdat said that the Federal Police had started attacking ISIL militants’ defenses south of the Old City, killing seven members before besieging Bab al-Jadid.[744] Capt. Abdul-Wadoud al-Anbari stated that the Rapid Response team had killed 21 ISIL members, including five snipers, in a "snap operation" in the al-Shefa district.[745] A CTS commander said that only four square kilometers of the city remained under ISIL control.[746] Iraqi forces were also reported to have advanced in Zanjili, capturing more than half of it.[747]

7 June

On 7 June, Federal Police said that operations in Zanjili had left 34 militants dead, including ISIL leader Abi Baraa al-Tounsi, in charge of explosives manufacturing workshops in the Old City.[748] Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces controlled 75 percent of the district.[734] Kurdistan Region Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Directorate announced that Ahmed Hashim Hamid, known as Abu Hammam, the second man in ISIL's ‘Sharia Diwan’, was killed during the previous few days in western Mosul.[749] Captain Sabhan Wali told Anadolu Agency that at least 11 Iraqi security personnel had been killed by an ISIL booby-trap in Zanjili.[750]

8–9 June

The UN reported that more than 231 civilians had been killed by ISIL in the previous two weeks, including 204 in al-Shifaa over two days, while 50 to 80 civilians had been killed in an airstrike on Zanjili on 31 May.[751] Jawdat meanwhile told Asharq al-Awsat that Iraqi forces controlled 85 percent of Zanjili.[752] On 9 June, Federal Police killed eleven ISIL militants, including Yaareb al-Khatouni, a senior division leader, and Abu Amal, designated security committee chief, near the Nuri Mosque.[753]

10 June

Federal Police Chief Jawdat issued a statement on 10 June saying that his forces had completely captured the Zanjili district, killing hundreds of militants and destroying 27 heavy machine guns, as well as dozens of booby-trapped cars.[754] Iraqi forces meanwhile repelled an ISIL offensive to the south of Shirqat, with the group losing 24 fighters, while the combined death toll of troops and civilians rose to 38.[755] An attack on two villages in Al-Shirqat district left 14 militants and 4 pro-government fighters dead.[756]

11–12 June
 
Map of the ISIL-held districts (grey area) in Mosul, as of 14 June 2017.

Major General Ali Mohsen claimed on 11 June that Iraqi forces had captured more than half of the al-Shifaa district.[757] Iraqi forces also stormed the Old City, with Joint Operations Command stating that they killed 23 militants as they entered the northern entrance of the Bab Sinjar area.[758] Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Azzawi stated on the following day that the Iraqi Army's 36th Brigade had established a foothold at the edge of the medical complex, overcoming heavy resistance.[759]

13 June

The Iraqi military announced on 13 June that Iraqi forces had finished clearing the Zanjili district, with Joint Operation Command stating that Federal Police and the Rapid Response forces were clearing the northern part of the district of militants, in addition to removing large numbers of landmines and traps the militants had set. The statement added that the Federal police and the Iraqi Army, along with the CTS, continued to advance in al-Shifaa.[760] Meanwhile, Federal Police chief, Shaker Jawdat announced that more than 1,200 militants, including 27 leaders and 214 snipers were killed, destroying 865 booby-trapped vehicles and defused 780 landmines while 300 square kilometers were retaken since operations began in western Mosul.[761]

14 June

Over 100 militants launched a counter-attack on Iraqi forces on 14 June, infiltrating Danadan, where they took over a mosque that was later bombed by airplanes, according to security officers. The militants then moved to Dawasa and Nabi Sheet. While the clashes were ongoing, Iraqi security officials stated that eleven Federal police officers and four civilians had been killed in the attack.[762] The militant group claimed it had killed 40 Federal police officers. A police commander later stated that Iraqi forces had repelled the attack and killed dozens of the militants, while a Federal Police officer added that operations were underway to drive off any remaining militants.[763]

15 June

Iraqi military announced on 15 June that they had taken complete control of Bab Sinjar district, adding that they were about to complete the encirclement of the Old City, with the pro-government forces still battling to take control of al-Shifa. The Joint Operations Command stated that Iraqi forces had initiated a new advance in al-Farouq area.[764][765]

16–17 June

Jawdat stated on 16 June that the Iraqi Police had taken control of 30 percent of Shifaa district.[766] Meanwhile, UNHCR stated that 100,000 civilians still remained in the Old City and were practically human shields.[767] Iraqi forces killed an estimated 1,800 ISIL militants during the first 16 days in June.[768] On 17 June, Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces had captured the medical complex in Shifaa, killing 19 fighters in the clashes in addition to destroying six booby-trapped cars and four motorbikes.[769] ISIL training centers in the vicinity of al-Jamhouri Hospital in al-Shifaa district have also been destroyed, and the hospital was successfully cordoned off.[770] Lise Grande meanwhile stated that up to 150,000 civilians still remained in Old City.[771]

18 June

Iraqi authorities dropped 500,000 leaflets over Mosul on 18 June stating they had started attacking from all directions, telling civilians to stay inside while warning ISIL to surrender or die.[772] Mohamed Ibrahim, head of the security committee at the Nineveh province council, was quoted by Ikhnews saying that 1,500 members of the group were entrenching near the Nuri al-Kabeer Mosque.[773] Iraqi forces stormed the Old City and estimated there were 300 fighters of the group left. Hisham al-Hashimi who advises several Middle Eastern governments on matters relating to the group said that Kanaan Jiyad Abdullah, also known as Abu Amna, ISIL's security services chief of the area was killed in the clashes. Another leader in charge of intelligence in Mosul, Shakir Mahmud Hamad was captured by Iraqi forces.[774] Meanwhile, Iraqi forces bombarded ISIL locations in areas of Old City, killing 13 civilians and wounding another eight according to an activist.[775]

19–20 June

Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi of CTS stated on 19 June that they had taken control of new areas in Old City's Faruq district.[776] Bakhtiyar Haddad, an Iraqi journalist working for France 2, was killed in a mine blast while three other French journalists were injured.[777] One of the journalists, by the name of Stephan Villeneuve, succumbed to his injuries on the next day.[49] The operation command meanwhile announced that the 9th Armored Division had captured the southern al-Shifaa district, Bash Tapia Castle, Yahya Abul Kassem shrine, a juvenile prison, Maria Church, Nineveh Health Directorate and the Fifth Bridge.[778] It later also released a statement that the 9th Armored Division had captured al-Shifaa district, thus encircling the Old City.[779]

21 June

Iraqi forces began a push towards the Grand al-Nuri mosque on 21 June, with CTS coming within 200 to 300 meters of it according to a military statement. ISIL was reported to have covered many streets with cloth sheets to obstruct air surveillance.[780] A CTS source told Xinhua News Agency that they had taken positions within 100 meters of it. Meanwhile the operation command stated that Iraqi helicopters had destroyed an ammunition warehouse in addition to a vehicle of the group, killing 13 militants in total.[781] The Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where the group's leader al-Baghdadi had declared a "caliphate" in 2014, was later destroyed along with its minaret known as "Al-Hadba". The Iraqi military accused the group of blowing it up after the Iraqi forces came within 50 meters of it, however the ISIL-affiliated Amaq News Agency accused U.S. aircraft of destroying it.[782][783] A video was later released by the Iraqi military to back their claim.[784] Col. John Dorrian of U.S. Air Force meanwhile denied they had struck the mosque, blaming its destruction on the militant group.[785]

22 June

A total of 53 militants were reported killed in military operations in the Old City on 22 June.[786] Shafaq News quoted security sources saying that troops killed ISIS explosives official Abu Furqan al-Maswseli, along with 15 others, at a house in the recaptured al-Shifaa district.[787] Prime Minister Abadi boasted that the capture of the city was a "matter of days" while Col. Ryan Dillon stated that 2 square kilometers of West Mosul remained under the group's control.[788] Iraqi Federal Police chief, Shaker Jawdat also said his forces killed 43 ISIL members in Ras al-Jada and Bab al-Beed in the Old City, and destroyed five booby-trapped vehicles.[789]

23 June

Iraqi forces continued to fight toward the center of Old City, with a map published by the media office of Iraqi military showing the CTS advancing along al-Faruq street from north to south as well as along Nineveh street from east to west. The Iraqi military also stated that around 7,000 civilians had been evacuated from Old City during the past week.[790] Another suicide bomber blew himself up among fleeing civilians in Mashahda district of Old City, killing 12 and wounding more than 20.[791] The JOC also stated that the Third Emergency Brigade of the Nineveh Police Force had killed the group's leader, Jassem Akoub, in addition to the militants who smuggled him to east Mosul, across the Tigris. Meanwhile, Jawdat stated that the Federal Police advancing from the south had captured Shamoun Church and were advancing towards Zewani mosque.[792] A medical source at Mosul’s public hospital said that missile hit a market in Mosul al-Jadida, leaving 10 civilians dead and another 40 wounded.[793] ISIL targeted a district in east Mosul with suicide bombing.[790] A military statement released later said that five people including three policemen were killed while 19 were injured in the bombings.[794]

24 June

Federal Police Commander Raed Shakir Jawdat stated on 24 June that two-thirds of the Old City had been captured and the Federal Police forces were approaching the district's SirgKhana neighborhood.[795] Iraqi forces opened exit routes during the day for civilians to flee the Old City. French journalist Veronique Robert succumbed to her injuries received earlier in a mine explosion.[794][796] A local source said that three elite ISIL leaders, including a Diwan al-Jund (Soldiers department) official, were killed by an airstrike on a hideout in outskirts of Tal Afar.[797] Meanwhile, War Media Cell reported that two suicide bombers targeting Muthanna Market blew themselves before reaching the target after Iraqi forces knew about their plot, in eastern Mosul. The blast killed eight people, including three policemen and left another 19 more wounded.[798]

25 June

Lieutenant Colonel Salam al-Obeidi states that less than one square kilometer of the Old City district remains under ISIL control and that Iraqi forces now controlled 65-70 percent of the district.[799] JOC's Yahya Rasoul stated that only one percent of the city still remained under ISIL control, with 9th Armored Division having freed southern part of al-Shifaa, while fighting was ongoing in its northern part. He also stated that Iraqi Army were advancing in al-Farouq district and had captured part of al-Mashahda district.[800] ISIL claimed to have captured Tanak and were attacking Yarmuk district, though the Iraqi military didn't confirm this. The military claimed that it had blocked an attack carried out by multiple suicide bombers on Hay al-Tanak. Maj. Gen. Sami al-Arithi, a senior commander of CTS, stated that his forces were 25 meters away from Nuri mosque's location.[801] Counterattacks by the group were reported in Tanak, Rajm Hadid and Yarmouk.[802] The Defense Ministry said in a statement that an ISIL drone factory in Shifa neighbourhood was seized with the help of civilians.[803] According to a local activist, five members of a family were killed in an airstrike in western Mosul.[804]

26 June

Iraqi forces stated that they had repelled the counterattack by ISIL, with casualties being reported including 20 of the group's fighters being killed.[802] The militants had sneaked in by wearing PMU uniforms and about 40 militants were killed in anti-ISIL coalition airstrikes on western-most edge of the city according to an Iraqi officer.[805] Asadi of CTS stated that the militants were cornered in one or two pockets of Yarmouk and the security forces were searching it and Tanak house-to-house. He also added that Iraqi forces had linked up at al-Faruq street and will start pushing towards the river, boasting the battle will end in days.[806] Yarallah announced that CTS had captured Faruq al-Awla neighborhood.[807] Jawdat stated that Iraqi forces had captured ISIL's main hospital in Bab al-Beed.[808]

27 June

JOC announced on 27 June that about half of the Old City was under control of Iraqi forces with Iraqi Army's 16th Division had captured al-Mashahda neighborhood in the Old City. It also added that the Federal Police had captured al-Bayd and Raas al-Jadda areas.[809] Nineveh Police released a statement claiming that six ISIS members were killed while attempting to infiltrate Rajm Hadid region, west of Mosul.[810] The military stated that the Federal Police had dislodged the militants from the Zewani mosque, and were a few days away from ousting the militants from the city. Jawdat stated that about 600 meters of distance remained between the forces and the Corniche road, reaching upon will bring the battle to a "conclusion".[811]

28-29 June

The Iraqi military announced in a statement that the Army's 16th Division had captured Hadarat al-Saada and al-Ahmadiyya neighborhoods to the northwest of al-Nuri mosque in the Old City. The military also added that security forces had killed five militants who were trying to flee across Tigris to east Mosul.[812] Jawdat stated that on 29 June that the Federal Police had advanced 200 meters towards Sirijkhana neighborhood, considered to be the last stronghold of the group in Old City's right bank area. He also stated that Iraqi drones had bombarded the group's mobile targets, killing 12 militants while seizing an anti-aircraft weapons lab.[813] Abdul-Ghani al-Assadi stated that Iraqi forces had killed more than 600 militants during the fight to take over the site of the al-Nuri mosque and freed more than 900 families in Old City. He added that fighting was still ongoing in neighborhoods of al-Maidan, Sirjkhana and Ras al-Khour in the Old City.[814] The ruins of Great Mosque of al-Nuri were later captured by Iraqi forces.[815] After its capture, Prime Minister Abadi declared that the group's self-styled "caliphate" had ended. Meanwhile, the military statements announced that CTS had captured the mosque in addition to the al-Hadba and Sirjkhana neighborhoods.[816] The Federal Police’s media office announced that their forces took over al-Saa’a Church and Omar al-Aswad mosque in Bab Jadid neighborhood in the Old City.[817] During the day, Col. Ryan Dillon stated that the "liberation of Mosul was imminent."[818] 14 militants including two suicide bombers were killed in clashes according to Iraqi officials, Federal police officer Lt. Abdul Bari Faleh al-Jamous said 12 militants were killed in Bab al-Jadid.[819]

30 June

CTS Major General Maan al-Saadi stated that it would take four to five days to capture the last areas along Tigris held by ISIL which were defended by 200 militants. He added that Iraqi forces continued to advance in Midan neighborhood of Old City.[820] JOC announced that Iraqi Army's 16th Infantry Division had captured al-Faruq al-Thaniyah neighborhood in the northern part of Old City. It also added that CTS had captured Sha'areen commercial area, an adjacent area containing the mosque of Prophet George as well as the Abed-Khoub area in the northern part of the Old City.[821] As many as 18 security forces, including two officers, were killed in clashes in Bab Laksh district of Old City.[822] In addition, Iraqi forces killed 54 militants in Old City while seizing and destroying various weapons and a communications center of the group. They also announced complete control of the Our Lady of the Hour Church, Omar al-Aswad mosque, Karar mosque, and the south of Aserjkhanh area.[823] Abu al-Baraa al-Mousal, ISIL's battle commander in Tal Afar, conceded defeat in Mosul and ordered his forces to stand down.[824] An Iraqi Federal Police officer told Anadolu Agency some days later that around 213 civilians were killed between 24 June to 30 June during clashes in the Old City.[825]

July: Clearing the Old CityEdit

1-2 July

The Iraqi military announced on 1 July that the Federal Police had captured the last bridge under ISIL control, effectively cutting off the group's last escape route.[826] A Federal Police officer stated that they had also captured Arbiaa Market, the mosques of Ka'ab bin Malik and Omariyah as well as the surrounding residential areas. The JOC announced that they had also captured the northern part of al-Shifaa district along with Rapid Response Division, freeing a hospital compound along with a main water facility of west Mosul while killing dozens of militants.[827] The troops captured Ibn Sina teaching Hospital along with other medical facilities including a blood bank and a clinic in the area.[828] Jawdat declared that his forces had completed their mission in southern parts of the Old City. A military statement on 2 July announced that CTS had captured the Makawi district.[829]

3 July

The JOC announced on 3 July that the 16th Infantry Division had captured Khatoniyah, Tuwalib and Ra's al-Kour, killing 67 militants while also evacuating 961 civilians. In addition battle with remnants in al-Shifaa continued.[830] Two female suicide bombers hiding among civilians targeted Iraqi forces during the day, killing one soldier. Another attempt by seven women in Mosul was foiled with some exploding themselves on fleeing families.[831] According to a map published by the military media office, ISIL forces occupied a rectangle-like area around 300 by 500 meters beside the Tigris river.[832]

4 July

Major General Najim al-Jubouri, commander of Nineveh's Operations Command, said in a press release on 4 July that the declaration of "liberation of Mosul" will be declared within two days. He added that around 400 metres remained under ISIL control in some areas and the declaration will be made after capture of al-Maydan.[833] Iraqi forces slowed their advance on the remaining areas as the area contained large number of militants and civilians, with an Iraqi commander estimating about 10,000 civilians remaining in areas under militant control.[834] Jawdat stated that Iraqi troops had captured Saray Door area and several other areas towards Khalid Ibn Walid street and al-Nujaifi area.[835] The JOC announced that Federal police had captured a commercial area and a mosque.[836] During the day, Prime Minister Abadi congratulated Iraqi forces over what he called a "big victory" in Mosul.[837] Meanwhile, Mohamed Zubaidi, an Iraqi federal police officer, speaking to Anadolu Agency said that 213 civilians had been killed in the period from 24 to 30 June during clashes in the Old City.[838]

5 July

The Iraqi military stated on 5 July that ISIL was resorting to increased use of suicide bombers to try to slow the advance of Iraqi forces. New Zealand Army Brigadier Hugh McAslan stated that about 250 square meters remained under militant control.[839] Yarallah announced that Iraqi troops had captured al-Khatuniya and al-Tawaleb districts of the Old City.[840] Abdul-Wahab al-Saidi, a senior commander of the CTS stated that only 150 meters remained under the group's grip in the Old City, adding that 20 militants had detonated themselves in the last three days while his troops had killed 150 militants in the last two days .[841] Meanwhile, Major General Aifan Al-Dulaimi, head of the Rapid Response Division, told Anadolu Agency that fighting still continued at Dhaka Baraka, Ras Al-Kor, Al-Shaareen market, Nineveh Street, Najafi and Sheikh Abu Al-Ola Street in the Old City. He also added that nine Iraqi security members and 18 militants were killed in the clashes.[842] A local source said that ISIL had launched an attack on Imam Gharbi village, near Qayyarah south of Mosul, killing 13 pro-government militiamen and injuring 14 others.[843][844] By this time, French forces had conducted 600 airstrikes and 1,200 artillery shelling during the battle, according to French armed forces spokesman Colonel Patrick Steiger.[845]

6-7 July

Lise Grande stated on 6 July that 15,000 to 20,000 civilians still remained in territory under ISIL control in the city.[846] A security source said that Rapid Response forces commander, Cap. Hamid al-Azzawi, was killed near al-Sarjkhana. A source also said that CTS troops are 100 meters from the Tigris River at al-Midan region, and killed ten suicide attackers during the advance.[847] Iraqi security sources stated on 7 July that ISIL had attacked the Iman Gharbi village, south of Mosul, likely as a diversionary attack. A number of people, including two journalists, died in the attack, while two other journalists were injured as they covered the counterattack by ISF to retake the village. Some local residents were taken hostage.[848] The sources stated that the militants were still in control of half the village by the evening.[849] A counterattack by 50 to 100 militants in the Old City on the army’s 16th Division pushed Iraqi forces back about 75 meters, according to an Iraqi officer.[850] A security source later told Xinhua News Agency that the Federal Police had captured Souq al-Saghir area and the adjacent al-Najafi thoroughfare, while the CTS and the 9th Armored Division further restricted the area under militant control, after capturing parts of Shahwan and Ras al-Kour districts. Another security source stated that two of the journalists trapped in Imam Gharbi were freed, along with two police officers, as Iraqi forces continued battling to retake the village.[851] The JOC meanwhile announced killing eight militants near Sheikh Al-Shatt Mosque in the Old City, including Abu Zaid, who held the rank of amir in the group.[852]

8 July

The JOC stated on 8 July that Iraqi forces had killed 35 militants and arrested 6 others as they tried to infiltrate the eastern side of Mosul from the west. Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul meanwhile stated that Iraqi forces were in full control of the Old City despite spoardic clashes in some pockets.[853] The JOC later announced that the Federal Police had captured the Bab al-Toub neighborhood of the Old City and the adjacent Souq al-Saghah area. In a separate statement, it also announced that the 9th Armored Division had captured the Daka-Baraka area and a mosque in the remaining militant-controlled pocket along the Tigris.[853] Iraqi military commanders stated that they would take control of Mosul at any moment. The Amaq News Agency stated that "fierce fighting" was ongoing around the Maydan district and also released a statement of the remaining militants to "fight until death". Iraqi state TV claimed that dozens of militants had been killed in clashes during the day.[854] Brig. Gen. Robert Sofge of United States Army stated that the announcement of victory was imminent and the militants only controlled two blocks.[855]

9 July

About 100 militants were reported to remain in the last militant-controlled territory. Iraqi state TV later announced on 9 July that Iraqi forces had reached the Tigris river and raised the Iraqi flag on its riverbank.[856] The JOC announced that the CTS had captured al-Maidan area of the Old City, with a security source stating that the CTS and the 9th Armored Division were still fighting to capture Qlei'at and al-Shahwan neighborhoods.[857] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul during the day and hailed "victory" over ISIL, congratulating the Iraqi forces and civilians for it according to his office.[858] Fighting with remaining militants continued even after Abadi's declaration.[859] His spokesman, Saad al-Hadithi, said that victory would not be formally declared until the remaining militants were cleared from the city.[860] Abadi later stated that declaration of victory was a matter of time and the battle was settled with the remaining ISIL pockets encircled. He added that Iraqi forces were fighting to free civilians held as human shields in about 50 to 100 houses.[861]

Declaration of victory over ISILEdit

10 July

Early on 10 July, about three dozen ISIL militants were still holding in a small pocket near the western bank of the Tigris River. However, an Iraqi commander stated that those militants can only surrender or die.[79] Iraqi forces attacked four small militant-controlled pockets in Qulayat and Shahwan. Rapid Response officer Mohamed al-Oqaily stated that 13 militants had been killed in clashes in the two areas since the day before.[862] Prime Minister Abadi later formally declared victory over ISIL in Mosul in the operations room of CTS. Later on the same day, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi again formally declared victory in Mosul.[863] The United States-led anti-ISIL Coalition also reported that the city was "firmly" under the control of Iraqi forces and welcomed Abadi's announcement of victory, while also noting that the Old City areas still had to be cleared of explosives and possible hiding militants.[62] Abadi emphasized that Iraqi soldiers were the sole force on the ground and there were no foreigners involved in the capture of Mosul.[864] Hayder AI Abadi, Prime Minister and Commander in Chief, and Ibrahim AI Jaffari, Foreign Minister, informed the international community about the claimed victory in letters dated 10 July 2017, in which they emphasized the followed strategy "man before land": the biggest and furthest objective of the liberating security forces was to protect civilians and ensure their safety despite the heinous methods of ISIL/Daesh, including the use of human shields.

11-15 July

Sporadic clashes continued even after al-Abadi's victory declaration, specifically in the al-Maydan area of the Old City, with multiple airstrikes pounding the area.[80][865] An Iraqi official stated that the military activity was due to clearing operations, targeting hidden militants.[61] On 13 July, the US stated there could be 200 ISIL fighters remaining in the city and the Coalition conducted air-strikes against 19 ISIL fighting positions.[58] Another 22 fighting positions and a tunnel were destroyed by the CJTF-OIR the next day, as Iraqi forces hit further pockets of resistance.[59] On 15 July, Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Yarallah, head of the Nineveh Operations at the Joint Operations Command stated that over 25,000 militants were killed in the battle, including 450 suicide bombers. He also added that 1,247 booby-trapped cars, 1,500 "diverse vehicles", and 130 drones were shot down.[866]

17-20 July

On 17 July, clashes continued in Mosul's Old City.[867] An Iraqi soldier was killed and another was wounded in the Shahwan neighborhood, with four ISIL tunnels destroyed, as clearing operations continued.[868] Clashes persisted into 18 July, with a civilian being killed in a firefight in al-Hayy al-Zera’ie, Old City near the Tigris River.[869] Meanwhile, an Iraqi officer revealed that 5 female German militants wearing suicide vests were arrested on 13 July in Old City after they were found hiding in an ISIL-built tunnel.[870] On 20 July, clashes in the Old City intensified, as an estimated 150 ISIL suicide bombers attempted to launch one last massive suicide attack instead of surrendering, with the militants holding an estimated 250 civilian families hostage. The clashes persisted until the afternoon of the same day.[60][13][14]

22-25 July

On 22 July, Iraqi security forces arrested ISIL's minister of agriculture, Falah Rashid, in western Mosul.[871] On 25 July, Federal Police service said in a statement that they arrested six militants and confiscated multiple weapons, including explosive belts, during combing patrols in Bu Sayf region, near Mosul Airport.[872] Four police personnel, including a lieutenant general, were killed at al-Maash market after clashing with ISIL militants on the same day.[873] ISIL senior leader, Saad Maan, who held the post of "tribal affairs bureau for southern Mosul" was arrested in eastern Mosul while crossing the Tigris River carrying a fake ID.[874]

Meanwhile, many news outlets reported the end of the battle during the mid-to-late-July period with the focus of Iraqi forces now being hunting down surviving militants, clearing explosives and dead bodies.[875][876][877][877]

Post-victory clashesEdit

30 July-4 August

Nineveh police captain Saeed Najm said on 30 July that three ISIL leaders were killed while escaping western Mosul to al-Faisaliya neighborhood on the eastern side via the Tigris river.[878] On 1 August, two women and a disabled person belonging to ISIL attacked a checkpoint in western Mosul, killing one policeman.[879]

5-6 August

US forces, backed by Iraqi troops, have recently made an airdrop of troops west of al-Shura region, south of Mosul, to evacuate a number of spies within ISIL ranks, from Mosul, according to a military source on 5 August.[880] Meanwhile, on the next day, Sudan Tribune reported that Ali Abdel-Ma’arouf (aka Abu al-Asbat Al-Sudani), a Sudanese national, who was ISIL head of prisons and a top legislator, was killed during recent clearing operations in Mosul.[881]

8-10 August

On 8 August, a security source said that Iraqi Security Forces, in coordination with the Nineveh police, have arrested Ahmed Sabhan Abdel Wahid al-Dulaimi, a senior IS intelligence official, in eastern Mosul.[882] On the other hand, curfew was imposed in the Old City after intelligence information indicated the appearance of several ISIL militants in one of the underground tunnels in the city.[883] Federal Police forces killed an senior ISIL judge, Abdul-Sattar Mohamed Ali, aka Abi al-Hakam al-Aawar, in a raid at a basement in the Old City.[884] On 10 August, a source told that two civilians were killed and three others were wounded when ISIL gunmen opened fire on them. Meanwhile, Federal Police chief, Shaker Jawdat, said in a statement that 47 ISIL members have been killed and arrested since the beginning of July. He also added that 192 explosive belts, ten tons of ammonia nitrates and five barrels of C4 and six booby-trapping workshops were seized.[885]

11-13 August

Jawdat stated on 11 August that troops killed three militants after besieging them in Hawi al-Kanisah district. He also added that a workshop for manufacturing Katayusha rockets was found in Mesherfa district. Nineveh police intelligence department's Cap. Ahmed al-Obeidi told BasNews that they had confiscated the biggest workshop used by ISIL to manufacture explosive belts and rockets in western Mosul. Hundreds of rockets and explosive devices were said to be found inside the workshop.[886] Two days later, Iraqi forces arrested a number of ISIL members who were found booby trapping a road in southern Mosul, according to a security source.[887]

14-16 August

Security forces arrested an unnamed ISIL military commander for eastern Mosul area, along with ten others in Mosul on 14 August.[888] A military source said Iraqi army have discovered three underground tunnels belonging to ISIL in Qairawan.[889] On 15 August, unknown gunmen suspected to be ISIL sleeper cells attacked a Federal Police checkpoint in Tal al-Romman region of western Mosul, killing one policeman and injuring the other.[890] On 16 August, an ISIL gunman was killed after he attacked a checkpoint at Nabi Yunus market in eastern Mosul, according to the Interior Ministry.[891]

17-19 August

Federal Police chief, Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, said in a statement that an ISIL chemical reservoir was found in Mekkawi street in the Old City. The reservoir contained C4, ammonia and other substances.[892] On 19 August, one civilian was killed, while eight others were wounded as an ISIL landmine exploded in Qureitagh village, east of Mosul, a security source said.[893]

AftermathEdit

During the last stages of battle to retake Mosul, Lise Grande stated that per an initial assessment, basic infrastucture repair will cost over 1 billion USD. She stated that while stabilization in east Mosul can be achieved in two months, in some districts of Mosul it might take years, with six out of 44 districts almost completely destroyed. All the districts of Mosul received light or moderate damage.[894] Per the United Nations, 15 districts out of the 54 residential districts in the western half of Mosul were heavily damaged while at least 23 were moderately damaged in the battle. The UN also estimated that more than 5,000 buildings have been damaged and another 490 were destroyed in the Old City alone during the battle.[895] Amnesty International accused Iraqi and United States forces of using unnecessarily powerful weapons.[896] Sporadic clashes occurred after the victory declaration as Iraqi troops targeted holdouts.[865] Fighting continued in the Imam Gharbi village to the south of Mosul[897] and it was recaptured by Iraqi forces on 20 July.[898] According to the American Schools of Oriental Research, IS damaged 15 religious sites in Mosul, while coalition forces damaged 47, of which 38 were largely destroyed.[899]

The Iraqi forces launched a ground offensive to retake Tal Afar, one of the last cities held by the militants, located 55 kilometres (34 mi) west of Mosul, on 20 August 2017.[900]

Humanitarian issuesEdit

Up to 1.5 million civilians lived in the city, sparking concerns among various organizations of a large humanitarian crisis.[901] Lise Grande, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, stated, "In a worst-case scenario, we're literally looking at the single largest humanitarian operation in the world in 2016."[901] Save the Children warned that massive civilian bloodshed was likely, unless safe routes were authorized to let civilians flee.[902] The U.S. government has accused ISIL of using civilians as human shields.[903]

ISIL abuses, abductions and atrocitiesEdit

Fears that civilians could be used as human shields by ISIL were realized as it was confirmed the group had been abducting civilians from villages for this purpose, which received widespread condemnation from human rights groups and the United Nations Security Council.[904][905]

ISIL has reportedly threatened to execute civilians trying to flee. Snipers, landmines, toxic weapons and trenches are preventing people from attempting to escape.[72] Iraqi officials, via radio broadcasts and leaflets dropped over the city, warned civilians to stay in their homes. Leaflets advised residents of various precautions to take including instructions to tape over their windows to protect from flying glass and to disconnect gas pipes.[84][906]

Shortly after the battle began, news surfaced of ISIL kidnapping and executing civilians in Mosul. Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis stated that ISIL was using civilians as human shields and holding people against their will in the city.[907]

The International Business Times reported that ISIL has forced boys from Mosul as young as 12 to fight for them, and that ISIL had trained the children to "behead prisoners and make suicide bombs".[908]

An Iraqi intelligence source stated on 21 October that ISIL executed 284 men and boys abducted from Mosul for the purpose of using them as human shields. The civilians were shot and put in a mass grave. A United Nations official said the UN is "gravely worried" about the fate of 200 families from Samalia and 350 families from Najafia who were abducted Monday by ISIL, who could be used as human shields.[909]

UN sources stated that four people died from inhaling toxic fumes after ISIL set fire to the Al-Mishraq Chemical Factory on 23 October.[910]

On 26 October, CNN reported that ISIL has been carrying out "retribution killings" of civilians as revenge for others welcoming Iraqi and Peshmerga troops in villages restored under government control.[184]

According to Ravina Shamdasani, of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ISIL executed 232 people near Mosul in late October for defying its orders and had taken tens of thousands of people to use as human shields against advancing Iraqi forces. She claimed that ISIL "executed 42 civilians in Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul. Also on Wednesday, ISIL executed 190 former Iraqi Security Forces for refusing to join them, in the Al Ghazlani base near Mosul."[190]

Iraqi forces evacuated more than 1,000 civilians from the front lines surrounding Mosul on 26 October, moving them to the Khazir region.[911] Civilians on the southern front had reported that their relatives had been taken by retreating ISIL fighters to be used as human shields.[183]

In October 2016, Iraqi government has launched a military operation in Mosul to eject ISIL. Based on reports provided by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, more than a million residents in Mosul are at risk and many of them were killed or used as human shields against the advance of Iraqi army. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor warns that Iraqi government and international forces have to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Mosul and provide its residents with their basic needs. ISIL has driven some of Mosul’s residents out of their neighborhoods while others were prevented from fleeing to the regions controlled by Iraqi army. Human rights are violated by both ISIL, which drove about 550 families from the villages of As-Semalyya and An-Nejafyya, and Iraqi troops which captured 1,500 civilians from mosques and schools in the Dybka refugee camp. On 21 October 2016, Another human rights violation committed by Iraqi army and police as they arrested almost hundreds of civilians and executing some villagers in the south of Mosul claiming that they are hosting ISIL militias. On the same day, Iraqi airstrikes targeted a funeral in Kirkuk province causing death of 20 people and injuring dozens others. Mosul's population reached to 1.5 million people, including 600,000 children who are besieged by ISIL militias and suffering from the shortage of food, water, electricity and medical care. ISIL militias monopolize the local hospitals in Mosul and Al-Hemdanyya District to treat only its supporters and members. About 690 families have been evacuated from the Makhmoor District east of Mosul and Al-Hemdanyya District to the Al- Hood camp.[912]

On 31 October, a member of the Nineveh Provincial Council stated that ISIL executed 300 civilians and former security members in the village of Moshairefa, north of Mosul. They had been imprisoned and accused of collaborating with the government.[913]

Mosul Eye reported on 3 November that mortar strikes killed five civilians in Mosul.[914]

Two roadside bombs struck a convoy of civilians fleeing Hawija on 4 November as the families were being taken to the town of Al-Alam. At least 18 people were killed, a police officer said.[915]

On 7 November, the Iraqi War Media Office announced that the bodies of estimated 300 people were found in a mass grave at the agriculture college in Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul. Many had been decapitated. Iraqi forces made the discovery after noticing the smell. Abdul Rahman al-Waggaa, a member of the Nineveh provincial council, said ISIL had used the college as "a killing field."[916][917] The Iraqi War Media Office said there would be an investigation into the murders: "Inside the building of the Faculty of Agriculture there is a new crime: the presence of 100 beheaded bodies of citizens killed by terrorists, and a special team will be sent to inspect this heinous crime," the office said in a statement.[233]

The United Nations reported on 8 November that ISIL had abducted 295 former Iraqi Security Forces members and 1,500 families from Hamam al-Alil, forcing them to retreat with the militants into Mosul.[918]

On 9 November, it was reported that ISIL killed at least 20 civilians after accusing them of being spies. Five crucified bodies were displayed at a traffic intersection, while others were left hanging from traffic signals and electricity poles.[919] Civilians who had fled the city in the previous few days reported that ISIL was using suicide bombs to attack residents in addition to Iraqi forces.[920]

BBC News reported on 11 November that ISIL executed 40 civilians in Mosul after accusing them of being spies. One man was killed for defying the ban on mobile phone use. They were shot and their bodies displayed around the city.[921]

The U.N. Office of Human Rights provided new details that ISIL is using chemical weapons and has stockpiled "large quantities" of ammonia and sulfur. "We can only speculate how they intend to use this," U.N. spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said. "We are simply raising the alarm that this is happening, that this is being stockpiled."[922]

On 17 November, Iraqi forces found two more mass graves near Hamam Alil, containing at least 250 bodies. One of the graves was inside a well. "We believe the well contains more than 200 bodies. ISIS used this mass grave to kill and dump people over the past two years," Iraqi Federal Police Commander Brig. Gen. Faris Radhi Abbas told CNN.[923]

In late February 2017, Iraqi forces uncovered the largest known mass grave dug by ISIL at the "Khafsa Sinkhole" near Mosul, containing the bodies of 4,000 Iraqi government personnel. They had been killed by ISIL shortly after the Fall of Mosul in June 2014.[924]

According to the United Nations, ISIL killed at least 163 civilians on 1 June 2017 in the al-Shira neighbourhood to prevent them from fleeing western Mosul.[925][926][927]

On 3 July 2017, forensic medicine doctors recovered 74 dead bodies that were likely to be killed by ISIL for trying to flee on the streets in al-Zanjili district, northwest of the city.[928]

On 24 July 2017, a mass grave containing sixty bodies, was discovered in western Mosul, with 44 of them belongs to security agents of the Nineveh police. Iraqi Cap. Ahmed al-Obaidi said the body showed signs of torture, and some which seemed to have been shot in the heads.[929]

Allegations against anti-ISIL forcesEdit

The presence with Iraqi forces of several militias with histories of human rights abuses was criticized; Human Rights Watch called for Shia militias from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) not to enter Mosul, following allegations of abuse of Sunni Muslims in anti-ISIL operations in Fallujah, Tikrit and Amirli.[930][931][932] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi later stated that only the Iraqi army and the Iraqi national police would enter the city itself.[71][933]

On 21 October, International Business Times reported that "disturbing and graphic footage posted to social media allegedly shows Iraqi security forces torturing and interrogating young children for information about ISIL as they attempt to retake Mosul from the Islamic State terror group."[934]

On 11 November, the Sunni website Middle East Monitor hosted video of the Iraqi Special Forces allegedly murdering an Iraqi Sunni child. The boy, identified as Muhammad Ali Al-Hadidi, was dragged through the desert and shot dead before a tank was driven over him. The men in the video were identified as Shia and yelled sectarian slurs at the child. The video "caused outrage on social media", with Sunni Arabic speakers using the hashtag #CrushedByATank (Arabic: #السحق_بالدبابة‎‎). The soldiers were wearing the insignia of the Iraqi Special Forces.[935]

On 19 January, Iraqi forces summarily executed three civilians who they later claimed were IS suspects.[936]

The Middle East Monitor accused Iraqi Shias of targeting Sunni Arabs "in a possible genocide", and claimed that "Sunni Arabs are being targeted for ethnic cleansing by Iraqi Christians".[937][938] However, Middle East Monitor was the sole origin of the report.[939][940]

On 17 March, a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 civilians.[941][942] Amnesty International's senior investigator on crisis response said: "The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law."[943]

On 12 July, after the end of the battle, a video posted online by the Mosul Eye blog showing a man suspected to be ISIL fighters was being held in a building and then dragged by soldiers across an open area to a ledge above a drop of at least 30 feet, where another body lies motionless. A second video also shows a man in Iraqi army fatigues gunning down an unarmed man kneeling in front of a car.[944] The Iraqi government later said they were investigating the footage.[945]

An estimate in mid-July 2017 by Kurdish intelligence put the total number of civilian casualties at 40,000. The largest portion of this loss of life is attributable to the unyielding artillery bombardment by Iraqi government forces – in particular, units of the Iraqi federal police – of west Mosul. Killings by ISIL and air strikes were two other significant sources of civilian deaths.[946]

On 19 July, Human Rights Watch published a report stating that Iraqi forces extrajudicial killings, torture and unlawful detention in the final phase of the battle and details the discovery of the corpses of 17 men, executed in an empty building in west Mosul, on 17 July.[947]

On 27 July, Human Rights Watch urged the US government to suspend all support for the Iraqi Army's 16th Division after members of the 16th Division lead four naked men, suspected to be ISIL fighters, down an alleyway, after which they heard multiple gunshots. One of the observers saw the bodies of a number of naked men lying in a doorway, one of whom appeared to have been handcuffed and had a rope tied around his legs.[948]

Displacements and relief effortsEdit

Italian Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, arrived in Erbil on 17 October to meet with Kurdish officials.[949] The UN has set up five refugee camps capable of taking up to 45,000 people and has the capability of taking in up to 120,000 if more sites are available for camps.[950] Dozens of families from Mosul arrived in the Al-Hawl camp in Rojava, Northern Syria, bringing the number of Iraqis in al-Hawl to more than 6,000. On 18 October, more than 2,000 refugees from Mosul were attempting to cross into Syria, according to the People's Defense Units (YPG).[129] The UN is attempting to communicate with citizens inside Mosul that they should not flee to the West of the city toward Syria, an area still under ISIL control, but to the camps in the east.[951]

Australia announced it would donate USD$7.5 million in humanitarian aid to the operation, and New Zealand pledged NZ$1 million (USD$718,600).[952]

 
A displaced Sunni Arab family from Mosul

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had trained 90 Iraqi medics in "mass casualty management" as part of its preparations for the Mosul operation, with a special focus on responding to chemical attacks, AP reported. ISIL has previously used chemical weapons in attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces, and there are fears that it might do so again inside Mosul, where more than a million civilians live.[953]

On 3 November, Kurdish and UN aid workers said more than 40,000 refugees had fled to Kurdistan in the first few weeks of fighting. Ten new refugee camps have been built in the Dohuk Governorate, Erbil Governorate and in the town of Khazir.[954] According to the United Nations and UNICEF, 22,000 people had been displaced, including more than 9,000 children.[955]

On 6 November, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that 33,996 people had been displaced from the Mosul District. 63 percent of families are missing civil documentation and 21 percent of families are headed by a female. The previous 48 hours saw a 53 percent increase in displacement.[53] The following day, WHO announced it had established 82 "rapid response teams" to prepare for possible concerns among civilians fleeing Mosul, including health epidemics such as cholera, and exposure to chemicals and smoke from burning oil wells.[956] A particular concern is potential disease outbreaks among young children who have not been immunized since ISIL took over the city in June 2014.[957]

More than 900 Iraqi civilians have fled to the Al-Hawl refugee camp located in the Rojava region of northeastern Syria, while another 700 civilians run away to the Turkish-Iraqi borders.[958]

Use of chemical weaponsEdit

The World Health Organization stated on 4 March 2017 that twelve people were being treated in Erbil for possible exposure to chemical weapons in Mosul. The WHO said that they had enabled "an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical[s]" and were preparing for more patients with exposure to these agents. According to the UN, four patients show "severe signs associated with exposure to a blister agent", which they were exposed to on the eastern side of the city.[959][960]

In April 2017, American and Australian advisory forces embedded with Iraqi units were attacked with low-grade, "rudimentary" chemical weapons during an offensive.[961]

ContextEdit

International reactionsEdit

  France
  • Jean-Marc Ayrault, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on 27 October, "We know that we will face significant challenges and it is our responsibility to face them together, alongside Iraq, while fully respecting its independence and sovereignty."[962]
  • President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Iraqi forces and tweeted on 9 July 2017 said: "Mosul liberated from Daesh. Homage from France to all those, with our troops, who contributed to this victory."[963]
  Lebanon
  • Lebanese Foreign Ministry on 10 July 2017 called for intensified regional efforts to contain the spread of terrorism "from one nest to another" and hailed the recapture of the city as a "great victory" for the Iraqi people.[964][965]
  Russia
  • President Vladimir Putin on 17 October said: "We hope that our American partners, and in this case our French partners as well, will act selectively and do everything to minimise — and even better, to rule out — civilian casualties."[966]
  Turkey
  United States
  • President Barack Obama said on 18 October, "Mosul will be a difficult fight and there will be advances and setbacks. I am confident, just as ISIL has been defeated in communities across Iraq, ISIL will be defeated in Mosul as well, and that will be another step toward their ultimate destruction."
  • Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on 16 October said in a statement,[968] "This is a decisive moment in the campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat."[969]
  • Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said on 29 March 2017, "Our enemy, ISIS, are evil and murderous butchers, engaged in purposeful and mass slaughter." "To put things in a little perspective for you, this is the most significant urban combat to take place since World War II; it is tough and brutal. House by house, block by block fights."[970]
  Iran
  • Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, condemned the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Mosul in March 2017 which killed more than 200 civilians and accused the United States of committing war crimes, saying: "This war crime is similar to the behavior of Daesh [Islamic State] and other Takfiri groups in targeting civilians and innocent people and should be urgently addressed in courts of justice."[971]

Media coverage and social mediaEdit

Several media outlets including Al Jazeera and Channel 4 live streamed the first day's battle on Facebook, a first in war coverage.[972][973][974] Additional live video feeds were available on YouTube and the streaming app Periscope. Iraqi and Kurdish officials are also joining in on social media using the hashtag #FreeMosul.[975] Brendan Gauthier, assistant editor of Salon, noted that given ISIL's slick campaigns on social media, "It's only appropriate then that the Iraqi military’s effort to reclaim Mosul from the PR machine turned extremist group be live-streamed."[976]

On 17 October, several Iraqi media outlets established the National Media Alliance to support journalists reporting on the battle. The groups include both government-run and private media, including Al Iraqiya and Al Sumaria. The alliance provides technical and journalistic services, including a joint operations newsroom. It was formed to counter ISIL propaganda and foster cooperation among the various media groups in order to reduce chaos and improve safety. Journalist Walid al-Tai told Al-Monitor, "One of the reasons behind the establishment of the alliance is to avoid any chaotic media coverage of the battle as every media and military institution is sending its correspondents to battlefronts. This leads to conflict in the coverage of the fighting and a greater number of casualties among journalists."[977]

Journalist Mustafa Habib reported that Iraqi citizens are coordinating efforts on Facebook and Twitter to counter ISIL propaganda, such as fake photos and videos, that may be used to intimidate locals in Mosul. A communications department of a Shia militia also announced it would be contributing to a social media campaign, and that 500 Iraqi journalists were embedded with the militias surrounding Mosul to report updates.[978]

On 27 October 2016, The New Yorker's Robin Wright interviewed the anonymous self-described historian Mosul Eye, a purported Mosuli who has blogged from the city about life in Mosul under ISIL despite death threats from the group. Responding to Wright's questions, Mosul Eye estimated the size and make-up of ISIL's force in Mosul, hopes for the future ("gain back power over the city" with help of "an international trusteeship to protect Mosul"), and the level of support for ISIL inside Mosul ("There is no support for ISIL in Mosul. They are left only with weapons that they will use to kill themselves once the liberating forces make the decision to raid the city.").[94]

Turkish involvementEdit

The involvement of Turkey in the operation has considerably strained its relations with Iraq.[5] Turkey has 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers in Iraq,[979] including 500 Turkish soldiers deployed to a base near Bashiqa, where they trained 1,500 Iraqi Sunni volunteers, mainly Turkmens, and Arabs to recapture Mosul from ISIL.[980][981] Turkey's participation is against the wishes of the Iraqi government, which has said the Turks are violating Iraq's sovereignty. Turkey has refused to withdraw its forces.[5] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkish parliament on 1 October, "We will play a role in the Mosul liberation operation and no one can prevent us from participating,"[982] and said their presence was to ensure that Mosul did not fall to Kurdish or Shia control and become a threat to Turkey.[983][984] Turkey's presence was criticized by Kurds in northern Iraq,[985] and thousands of protestors demonstrated at the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad on 18 October, demanding Turkish forces withdraw from Iraq.[986] The United States has reportedly attempted to persuade Iraq to cooperate with Turkey on the Mosul offensive.[987] Al-Abadi declined the offer of Turkish assistance, saying, "I know that the Turks want to participate. We tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle and the Iraqis will liberate Mosul and the rest of the territories."[988] However, on 23 October, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced Turkish troops had fired on ISIL positions near Mosul after requests for assistance from the Peshmerga.[5]

The situation between Turkey and Iraq escalated on 1 November, the day Iraqi forces entered Mosul. Turkey announced it was sending tanks and artillery from Ankara to Silopi near the Iraqi border. Turkey's Minister of Defense Fikri Işık said the deployment was a move to "prepare for "important developments" in the region and be ready for any possible scenario" and stated that "further action can be taken if Turkey's red lines are crossed" warning Shi'ite militias and PKK not to "terrorize" and take hold of Iraqi Turkmen-majority regions in the area.[989][990][991] Prime Minister Al-Abadi warned Turkey not to "invade" Iraq, predicting war if they did. Al-Abadi, addressing journalists in Baghdad, said, "We warn Turkey if they want to enter Iraq, they will end up becoming fragmented... We do not want to fight Turkey. We do not want a confrontation with Turkey. God forbid, even if we engage in war with them, the Turks will pay a heavy price. They will be damaged. Yes, we too will be damaged, but whenever a country fights a neighboring country, there will be no winner, both will end up losing."[992]

On 7 November, Iraq rejected Turkey’s proposal to continue running the Bashiqa military camp, no matter if it were formally transferred under the auspices of the coalition forces, and suggested that Turkey hand over control of the camp to Iraq’s central government.[993]

Violation of the laws of warEdit

In February 2017, Human Rights Watch issued a report regarding the violation of the laws of war in Iraq. According to the report, Islamic State fighters occupied Al-Salam Hospital in Mosul in June 2014, and put the staff and the patients at risk of attacks. During the Battle of Mosul, seven Iraqi soldiers’ corpses were dragged through the streets, and the bodies of three soldiers were hanged from a bridge in the city. As the report mentioned, ISIL fighters occupied a clinic in the town of Hammam al-Alil, which was then hit by an airstrike without warning on 18 October, killing at least eight civilians. Previously, they occupied other clinics in other towns controlled by the Islamic State fighters in Iraq, as well operating offices in all the medical facilities in the Republican, Ibn Sina, al-Salam, and Mosul General Hospitals.

Human Rights Watch has also accused the Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Forces of dragging the bodies of alleged ISIL fighters in the town of Qayyarah and in the city of Fallujah, after Iraqi forces took eastern Mosul on 24 January 2017.[994] They warned that allowing Popular Mobilization Forces to conduct the screenings of men and boys fleeing Mosul for having fought for ISIL would have "dire human rights consequences."[995]

Human Rights Watch warned that Popular Mobilization Forces were poorly trained to conduct these screenings. They argued that the irregular nature of screening and detention practices and isolation of detainees in custody risk abuse of the detainees, including arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances. Despite assurances from the Iraqi government that the PMF would not screen detainees in Mosul, an observer reported that three PMF groups were seen at a screening site on 11 March 2017: Hezbollah Brigades, al-Abbas Brigades, and Imam Ali Battalions.[995]

On 11 July 2017, a report was published by Amnesty International, accusing both sides of violating international laws in the battle, about a day after victory was declared by Iraqi forces. The report accused Iraqi forces and the US-led Coalition of carrying out a series of unlawful attacks in west Mosul, using heavily on Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions (IRAMs), explosive weapons and the failure of governement to take necessary precautions to prevent the loss of civilian lives and in some cases including disproportionate attacks.[996]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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