Image from a coalition airstrike of an ISIS barge on January 18. Photo: CJTF video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – With Iraqi forces in control in eastern Mosul, including the left bank of all five bridges crossing the Tigris, the global anti-ISIS coalition has carried out airstrikes on ISIS trying to escape the east and cross the river by boat.
“The Coalition struck 90 watercraft and three barges on the Tigris River in Mosul,” between January 18 and 20, the press office of the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) announced in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
ISIS was using these boats in an attempt to bring fighters and equipment from the east side to the west side and escape Iraqi forces, the statement detailed.
"We believe this was a desperate attempt to retrograde ISIL fighters now that the Iraqi Security Forces own the Eastern bank of every bridge in Mosul," the statement quoted Col. John Dorrian, coalition spokesperson.
Lt. General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi of Iraq’s Golden Brigade, confirmed to Rudaw that ISIS was using the river and that strikes against them had been ongoing.
At least 112 watercraft on the Tigris have been destroyed and more damaged by the coalition since the military offensive on Mosul began on October 17, the CJTF statement added.