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Fighting and Chaos in Mosul as Insurgents Seize Airport, Governor’s Office

By Rudaw 10/6/2014
ISIS fighters are reportedly in control of parts of Mosul, including the airport. Photo: AFP
ISIS fighters are reportedly in control of parts of Mosul, including the airport. Photo: AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Heavy fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Iraqi forces reigned for a fourth day in Mosul in northwestern Iraq, with insurgents reportedly taking over parts of the city, including the airport and governor’s office.

Local officials reported chaos in the city, with Iraqi army units aimlessly shelling populated areas for days. Most of the attacks by the al-Qaeda splinter group were reported in Mosul’s west bank and the city center.

In a telephone interview with Rudaw, Nineveh Governor Athil al-Nujaifi said that his staff is preparing to move the office to another building.

"The ISIS was able to get near the governorate building and gain control of it quickly," said Nujaifi. "We have prepared another building to perform the administrative affairs."

Meanwhile, Nineveh’s local government in the provincial council strongly denounced the Iraqi army for failing to counter the insurgents in Mosul.

"The Iraqi army is in chaos in Mosul,” said Bashar Kiki, the provincial council chief, who also demanded immediate intervention by Kurdish forces to repel ISIS attacks. He said that a curfew had been declared since Thursday, but that Iraqi forces had been shelling populated areas in vain.

"I want Peshmarga forces to come to Mosul at least in the east bank of the city, as there are lots of Kurds and other important government departments,” Kiki told Rudaw. “Even the governor of Nineveh demands the deployment of Peshmarga forces. He asked me to convey this message to the Kurdistan Region,” Kiki added.

In Erbil, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that the KRG had tried its best to help with security in Mosul, but that efforts had been stymied by the negative response from Baghdad.

“In the past two years we tried our best to cooperate for the defence of Mosul, but unfortunately the response from Baghdad wasn’t such that could help us cooperate,” Barzani said in a statement.

He also urged people in the Kurdistan Region to spare no efforts to assist refugees fleeing Mosul, but emphasized that, “any assistance has to be done within legal and security framework.”

Barzani appealed to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to come to the help of Mosul refugees, and reassured Kurds living in territories outside the Kurdistan Region that “the security forces and the Peshmarga are as always in full readiness to protect those areas.”

Jabar Yawar, chief of staff at the Peshmarga ministry, explained that that the KRG could not legally deploy forces outside the Kurdistan Region without prior agreement with the federal government. 

"Western Mosul is not related to the Kurdistan Region, and is not even a Kurdish area," said Yawar.

He added there was no excuse for more Peshmerga forces in the city’s east, because ISIS insurgents had not entered there. “Peshmarga forces are already in the east bank now, and have coordinated with the Iraqi army, but more deployment is not necessary for now," he added.

He said that information coming out of Mosul was also murky. “There is conflicting intelligence about the extent of ISIS control over the west bank.”

Brigadier General Saad Ma'an, spokesman for Iraq’s interior ministry, told Rudaw there is coordination and communication between Peshmarga forces and Iraqi security forces in Mosul.

"Until now, we have not requested the cooperation of the Peshmarga forces, but if required we will,” said Ma’an.

He said that Iraqi security forces had cleared out some areas of Mosul from ISIS fighters, and expected the whole city to be under control of government forces within 24 hours.

But several Kurdish and local officials in Nineveh gave different accounts of developments in the city, stressing that the army is losing control over Mosul’s west bank.  ISIS militants started new attacks on the areas at the heart of Mosul after 3 pm on Tuesday.

"ISIS wants to raid the Nineveh operation command in Mosul. They have warned people in the area to evacuate so that they would attack the base," said Saeed Mamuzin, spokesman of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Mosul.

According to officials, more than 60,000 Iraqi security forces are based in Mosul. In addition, special forces SWAT teams have been deployed in the city. However, there are accounts of desertions and many soldiers defecting to ISIS.

"Many Iraqi soldiers and police defected or left their bases, and ISIS could confiscate lots of weapons and ammunition," said Mamuzin.


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AkarHawleri | 10/6/2014
Here we have Iraqi Army with F16 and modern Tanks. They have bullet-proof vest and the modern weapons that the US left behind. Maliki pays them good salary and their family is well fed and still they are running away like cowards and not protecting anyone. And here we have Peshmerge who doesn't get any salary, his weapons are not as good as the Iraqi army and they can easily defeat these ISIS rats. One of the example we have is in ROJAVA (West Kurdistan) where they lost against YPG! Now my own opinion KRG stay away from this war, do not fucking waste Lifes of Kurdish Peshmerge, they only want to use us. Today we defeat ISIS, tomorrow they use F16 on Kurdish people. This is a Sunni and Shia War! Now only go to the Kurdish-area in Mosul and protect the Kurds Only. I bet Maliki is eating his own heart right now. He knows the only way to defeat ISIS is the Kurds, but he can't even look at the mirror now.
Abu Waqas | 10/6/2014
Stop saying ISIS most are sunni insurgents who have had enough of Malaki's shia rule, stop trying to make it into a "terrorism" issue, a terrorist group can detonate a bomb here and assassin someone there but they don't have tens of thousend of armed men and cannot hold such vast areas like Anbar Mosul etc. Sunni fighters control most of the Sunni region now, an area that is bigger than many countries in the region. Call it what it is, the sectarian war just exploded again in Iraq, Iraqi shia militias that were fighting for assad are fighting in Anbar and now heading for Mosul. Malaki and the US will very soon start to ask kurds for help again and promise all kinds of agreements but kurds must learn from the mistake of last time and stay out.
Bavi Shivia | 10/6/2014
Kurdish Peshmarga should not assist Maliki's Forces fighting ISIS in Mosul until Maliki releases salaries of Government Employees of Kurdistan, Implements Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, pays reparation for Anfal Operations against Kurds, upgrades Peshmarga Salaries, profusely apologize to all Kurds for calling Peshmarga Forces as militias and humbly ask them to help. Peshmarga Commanders should also demand that Peshmarga participation be based on the condition that all areas they liberate would be annexed to Kurdistan forever. Only then Iraqis can understand the meaning of justice.
Gerdi | 10/6/2014
The governor has fled, the Sunni insurgents now control all parts of Mosul that are not controlled by Kurdish forces. Just like Baghdad they took the prison and freed almoat 2000 Sunni prisoners who are now all armed to the teeth thanks to the 'mighty' Iraqi army which 70% deserted and left ALL their shiny new weapons for the insurgents after only 2 days of fighting, the Sunnis from the army joined the Sunni insurgents and the Shia are heading back to Baghdad. Just imagine Malaki would rather the whole region burn down and go to hell than ask for Kurdish forces to help get the situation under control.
Omar | 10/6/2014
This big push started when malakes sunni dog abu Risha was assassinated by the insurgents a week ago, after that most of the sunni joined with ISIS which has now become a powerful sunni force, they chasing Iraqi army everywhere, they might soon be going for baghdad, run malaki run!
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