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Iraqi commander: Concern for Mosul civilians delaying offensive

By Rudaw 16/3/2016
Iraqi soldiers have been deployed in preparation for the battle for Mosul. AP photo.
Iraqi soldiers have been deployed in preparation for the battle for Mosul. AP photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Islamic State (ISIS) group is using the large civilian population in Mosul as “human shields” and that is the largest hurdle for Iraqi forces reportedly preparing to liberate Iraq’s second-largest city from the militants, according to the Iraqi Army commander in charge of reported preparations for a large-scale offensive.

“The biggest hurdle facing Iraqi forces is the people inside Mosul who are being used as human shields by the organization,” said Lt.-Gen. Najim al-Jibouri, who commands the Nineveh Operations, set up for the liberation of Mosul, which now has an estimated 1 million population.

Jibouri said Wednesday that ISIS has 6,000 to 8,000 militants in Mosul, which is in Iraq’s Nineveh province.

It is believed that the Mosul offensive will involve the Iraqi Army and its allied Shiite militias, Kurdish Peshmerga forces and air support from the US-led coalition.

Iraq, Kurdish and US officials have all warned that the battle for the city will be tough, likely to result I many casualties and refugees.

“We are waiting for the green light from top Iraqi military officials” to start the offensive, Jibouri said, adding that the timing “depends on the advance of the Iraqi soldiers.”

To get the Mosul population on board Iraqi planes have dropped leaflets on the city several times, instructing civilians to cooperate when the offensive begins.

Early last month, Iraq's defense minister Khaled al-Obaidi who visited the Makhmour told Rudaw that the Mosul operation will come sooner than ISIS may expect.

"The operation to liberate Nineveh will be sooner and harsher than what ISIS expects. It will be done through new techniques and experience that Iraqi forces have gained in battle."

Mosul has been ISIS’s stronghold in Iraq since June 2014 when its militants attacked from Syria and routed out the Iraqi army and government institutions.


ناو | 16/3/2016
sure it is! lol
K | 16/3/2016
Unless they are ISIS families or in support of ISIS, the Mosul civilians are as good as dead. Their lives have been shattered by the ISIS brutal atrocities. Unless the Iraqi commander is not willing to fight, marching into Mosul and liberate as many as civilians is better than letting them suffer for a day more. Waiting is not a military strategy in these circumstances.
beetleking | 17/3/2016
@K Are you serious? Those people are afraid of Iraqi army more than Isis. Isis are their best friends. IF 1-2 Million people cannot beat 10k Isis then I dont know nothing about this world.. Like really?? I bet these people are very happy that Isis are there.
Jack Stein | 17/3/2016
At a time in the future... Both academics, statesmen and other professionals have often argued the ethics and sense of fair play when Kurds and the coalition used without warning a flight of 100 B52 bombers which sprayed over 100,000 gallons of sleeping gas one moonless night over the entire region of Mosel resulting in putting to sleep all warring and non warring factions in Mosel. The Kurdish Peshmerga swept into Mosel and took all the sleeping enemy into custody without a single shot fired or weapon used. All the friendly residents woke up 24 hours later to the warm smiling faces of nurses, doctors and volunteer helpers from free and liberated cities of Iraq and Kurdistan. The enemy woke up imprisoned and shackled. And not a single shot was fired nor a saber raised. One of the most incredible mass liberations in the history of modern warfare. The statesmen and the academics to this day argue about the ethics of using such a ploy in times of modern warfare. What battle ye say is worth fighting if the victorious cannot show dead enemy body counts if ye cannot count the dead if not in the thousands then at least in the hundreds.

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