The long awaited Mosul offensive got off to a sloppy start back in April and has been erratic ever since. Poor coordination and a lack of resources have prevented ISIS from being driven out of the city once and for all. This weekend, however, signs of promise emerged as Iraqi forces reclaimed control of Fallujah and one day later surged closer to Mosul as firefights continued to rage. Intense raw footage obtained by the Washington Post shows both the bravery of Iraqi forces and the carnage Iraqis have been dealing with for years now.
Because of the fighting, hundreds of families have been forced to flee their homes and head to one of the more than 300 refugee camps in Iraq. Middle Eastern news sources report the families received over 1,000 food donations from Erbil, despite the Kurdish city being utterly overwhelmed with financial stress. The U.N. reports approximately 3.4 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes since 2014, when ISIS began its reign of terror.
The offensive to take back Mosul has been problematic but it may not even be the biggest challenge facing the war torn nation. The question of who will retain control of Mosul once ISIS is cleared out has the entire nation on edge. The Washington Post spoke with the national security advisor and intelligence chief for the Kurdistan Regional Government, who pushed for an agreement:
While Kurdish forces are committed to the Mosul campaign, Barzani said they can’t take the lead in Arab areas. He also stressed the future difficulty of governing a diverse city that has Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen; Sunni and Shiite Muslims; Christians and Yazidis. “There has to be a political agreement so that all the elements of Mosul will be happy and able to live there.”
Some Iraqi officials talk hopefully of an uprising among the local population in Mosul to expel the Islamic State. “This is wishful thinking,” Barzani says. He explains that Mosul’s residents won’t stick their necks out unless they are certain the offensive will succeed.
Mosul is the last major stronghold for ISIS, whose supply lines were critically wounded last November when Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers liberated Sinjar city in an assault led by KRG President Masoud Barzani.