Iraqi Forces Free 70 Villages, 1000 sqk and Arrest 800 ISIS Terrorist
The Iraqi security forces have recaptured about 70 villages and over 1,000 square kilometers of land, and taken out about 800 ISIS militants one week after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul on Oct. 17.
Reports said when the terrorist group withdrew to downtown Mosul, they hijacked local residents as human shields to slow down the Iraqi joint offensives.
However, the Iraqi army chief said they hope to fight a "clean" war, meaning they will try to bring the civilian casualties to the lowest. "When we say a 'clean' battle", it indicates that we will protect our people from suffering from gunfire. We try to reduce the possible civilian casualties and try our best to protect infrastructure here," said General Othman Al Ghanimi, Iraqi Army Chief of Staff.
The Iraqi forces continued to advance to Mosul after several victories on the periphery. They didn't encounter heavy resistance at the front lines despite some crossfires and raids from ISIS rocket shells.
But an Iraqi expert warns that a great challenge lies ahead to eradicate extremist mindset in Mosul, the country's second largest city, as a victory over the Islamic State (ISIS) militants is only a matter of time.
"The situation in Mosul is different as the city features highlands, hills, mountains, and caves. The natural environment is good for the terrorists to hide and they maybe use these terrains to hide. So in some degrees, it's very complicated for the cleanup operation, but it's not impossible," said Abu Raghf, Iraqi strategic research specialist.
Raghf pointed out that a victory over the terrorist group is only a matter of time, but wiping out the extremist thoughts and doctrines is more difficult and lasting.
"ISIS militants suffered defeats and heavy losses in the Mosul operation, but it doesn't mean they disappear from Iraq. Their extremist thoughts have influenced many young people and brainwashed them. The terrorist group will disappear militarily but their thoughts and doctrines will remain in place despite defeats," Raghf added.
Sunday was the seventh day of the offensive to conquer Mosul, launched by the Iraqi forces and Kurdish military forces "Peshmerga", which aims to expel the ISIS out of Mosul.
Mosul, about 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled.
Source: Al Alam