According to a report by Middle East Eye this morning, 10/28/2016, “Islamic State forces in Iraq have abducted “tens of thousands” of men, women and children from areas around Mosul and are using them as human shields in the city as Iraqi government troops advance, the UN human rights office said on Friday.”
While this is not the first report of its kinds to come out over the last number of days, what separates this mornings announcement from the rest sheer number of people now involved. What the Islamic State is attempting to do here is give a clear sign to US/Iraqi forces that they are literally willing to slaughter 10’s of thousands of innocent people, if it helps them defend/protect their territory and hold onto it for just a bit longer.
That is the type of mentality and War tactics these troops are actively fighting against.
Just 11 days ago, 10/17/2016, the offense to recapture Mosul officially went underway.
Though this may be the best move for the future of the city and the future of Iraq, the headlines coming out of this battle are truly disturbing.
Prior to troops arriving in Mosul, home to roughly 2.2 million residents, the United Nations warned that potentially as many as 1 million people could be made homeless/displaced/refugees by the end of the military campaign.
About 4 days into the offensive, on 10/21/2016, reports indicated that not only was the Islamic State blocking some of these refugees/families from fleeing the city, but they were publicly executing anyone they caught trying to leave. In one report alone, CNN confirms that”284 men and boys” were executed in just two days time.
It is not just the citizens of Raqqa, but ISIS has even executed their own soldiers for trying to desert from the War – executed in much less human ways. If you want to know the full truth of it, the citizens are shot in head on the streets, the ISIS deserters are tied with their hands and feed together behind their back, dangling from a pole over a small fire until they die.
That is also the enemy and mentality the US coalition is up against.
Two days after this, on 10/23/2016, Middle East Eye reported how ISIS “injured over 1,000 people by creating toxic clouds caused by burning sulphur fields, ” explaining how ISIS set fire to the “Mishraq chemical complex, creating toxic hydrogen clouds.”
According to eye witness report in a neighboring town, “over 1,000 civilians and security forces” required medical attention. A reporter on the ground closer to the situation reported: “Mishraq is already on fire, US troops are in gas masks and over 1,000 casualties are reported.”
This morning, 10/28/2016, General Joseph Votel, head of the US military’s Central Command, told Agence France-Presse that “Just in operations over the last week and a half associated with Mosul, we estimated they’ve [Iraqi security forces] probably killed about 800-900 Islamic State fighters.”
For those of you keeping tally at home, to date, this individual battle has killed more innocent civilians than it has Islamic State soldiers. This is not the US or Iraq armies fault, I do not bring up these statistics to condemn the mission they are currently carrying out in Mosul, I just want to portray the true cost of victory the US led coalition is facing here.
Considering that thousands have already been killed in just over a weeks time, hundreds have also been publicly executed in the streets and the Islamic State has now captured tens of thousands more citizens, it is disheartening to think about any future headlines we are going to see out of this battle.
Also in the news the other day, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently flew into Iraq for a surprise visit last week and a few days after, on 10/26/2016, announced that US and Iraqi ground forces will launch a second offensive to retake the city of Raqqa from Islamic State control – starting in about 3 weeks time.
If you were unaware, Mosul and Raqqa are considered the last two remaining strongholds of the Islamic State – with Raqqa considered the Capitol city of the Islamic State. While ISIS territory has been in decline since Russia entered into the region in 2014, Raqqa and Mosul remain largely untouched and heavily fortified.
If recent headlines are any indication of the events to come, before anything gets any better for the people of Iraq, the news is only going to get a lot worse.
Considering the Commander in Chief of the US military will be changing positions in nearly two months time and the US election to replace him is not yet decided, it is rather odd timing for the US military to engage in such heavy endeavors in Iraq – after being largely absent from Iraq since 2011.
This article (Unfortunately, The Battle To Defeat The Islamic State In Mosul Is Proving To Be Just As Bloody As Anticipated) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to Brian Dunn and Alternative Medi4