01/24/2017, 10.10
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Mosul, the final battle. Isis expel people from west bank of the Tigris

The Islamic State militias expel inhabitants of the western part of the river. Jihadists deploy fighters and snipers in homes and commercial establishments to repel the assault by government forces. Iraqi and Kurdish army devise strategy to win back the entire city.


Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The militias of the Islamic State (IS) have expelled many of the inhabitants of the western part of the Tigris in Mosul, in preparation for a possible final attack by Iraqi forces by river. This according to anonymous local sources, while the government army continues its offensive launched last October against the jihadist stronghold in the north of the country. Analysts and experts confirm the success of the operation, which could be completed by the middle of 2017.

A resident of the Al-Maidan district reports that "the (SI) group has forced us to leave our homes, not allowing us to take anything." The militiamen, he adds, have "installed the shooting positions and have positioned snipers on rooftops and windows."

"We were forced to leave the area – continues the source - because it will soon become a battlefield and they transferred us with some families to another part of town."

Recently, the Iraqi security forces regained almost all of the eastern part of Mosul, Iraq's second most important city which is crossed by the Tigris River.  The IS militias, however, continue to occupy the western part of the metropolis, home to about two million people before the arrival of Daesh [Arabic acronym for the IS] in the summer of 2014.

In recent weeks all the bridges in the city were destroyed, as a strategic defense by militants or under the bombing of the US-led international coalition. Soufian al-Mashhadani, a native militiaman in Mosul, confirmed that IS has deployed several fighters inside some houses, along the western bank of the river.

"They have prevented the owners - says the militiaman - of these homes and businesses, from taking their belongings and the food, claiming that everything is now owned by the mujahideen."

Having advanced victoriously through the Nineveh plain, up to the eastern sector of the city of Mosul, now the leaders of the Iraqi and Kurdish militia forces are studying a strategy to conquer the west and liberate the city from the jihadist presence. Among the hypotheses, an encirclement to the north, west and south of the city, and then launching an offensive on the eastern sector of using mobile bridges.

Patrick Martin, an expert on Iraqi issues at the Institute for the Study of War, says the American genius has formed "the federal Iraqi forces" to build "fighter bridges." These movable bridges "have already been used with success" in Ramadi and Qayyarah, two Iraqi cities retaken by the Iraqi army in recent months.

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