First civilians flee Mosul after battle began to reclaim city from Isis

Casey Mills
October 20, 2016

"We've changed our tactics against their suicide vehicle bombs". At least five times bigger than any other IS-controlled city, it is the last major population center in Iraq still held by the jihadists, the liberation of which would effectively eliminate the group's self-declared "Islamic caliphate" from Iraq.

"We're waiting for orders", said Qahraman Said Hamed, 38, his face grimy from manning a heavy machine gun during the push earlier this week.

Failing to calm any political strife "makes us vulnerable to seeing ISIL return and feeding on the resentments in the aftermath of Mosul being liberated", he said.

Qayyarah: Iraqi forces were making gains as tens of thousands of fighters advanced on Mosul on Tuesday in an unprecedented offensive to retake the city from the Daesh terrorists.

To the north, air strikes pounded Bashiqa as Kurdish forces fired mortar rounds from an area overlooking the IS-held town.

Volesky praised Iraqi troops for advancing quickly toward Mosul and said so far the resistance they have meet has been moderate.

The coalition attacking the city includes fighters from the Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal groups.

He said Russian Federation was focusing on "possible attempts by fighters to break out of Mosul" and "freely leave the city in the direction of Syria".

The Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces launch military operations in Khazar village, 35 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, on October 18, 2016. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday that the worldwide coalition had a "responsibility" to retake the city, adding that not going on to Raqa "would be a bad mistake".

The Army has installed a new commander at Fort Riley, Maj. Gen. Qassim Al-Maliki. "The enemy is pulling back but they are leaving small mobile units behind, each composed of three to four persons, and we are mopping them up".

Entering Iraq's second-largest city will be fraught with challenges.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said an estimated 200,000 people were expected to be displaced in the first weeks of the offensive, growing to as many as one million under a worst-case scenario.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that blocking the road to Syria was the responsibility of the coalition that is providing air and ground support to Iraqi and Kurdish troops engaged in the battle.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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