IS prepares to fight for Mosul

IS prepares to fight for Mosul
2 min read
21 January, 2015
Islamic State extremist group is fortifying its positions in Mosul as Iraqi forces gear up for a battle to regain control of the northern city from the militants.
Iraqi soldiers prepare for the battle to liberate Mosul [Anadolu]
The Islamic State group is preparing for a decisive battle in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul against Iraqi government forces.

The group, which has occupied the city since June 2014, believes the battle will strengthen its position. Iraqi officials fear the political consequences should they lose.

"IS has relocated over 3,000 fighters from Syria to southern and eastern parts of Mosul. It has also redistributed existing troops and replaced some leaders," a local source in Mosul told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The group has continued to dig trenches and establish checkpoints on the city's borders, the source added.

"The Iraqi government believes the battle could bring down Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government,” Iraqi MP Mohammad al-Obaidi told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

     IS plans its battles carefully, unlike the Iraqi government that lacks intelligence.
Obaidi said the government had delayed the battle until the Iraqi army had been rebuilt. Previously it has relied on foreign fighters.

However, IS may have been increasing activities in Mosul to divert the government's attention away from an attack elsewhere, argued security expert Ahmed al-Saidi.

Saidi said IS plans its battles carefully, unlike the Iraqi government that lacks intelligence.

An informed political source earlier revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed the Iraqi government is trying to make a secret deal with Washington so that US ground forces will help liberate Mosul.

The Iraqi government has discussed the battle to liberate Mosul for a while, despite military and security experts questioning the Iraqi army's ability to win.

Kurdish on offensive

Media officer for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Said Mamuzini, told al-Araby that "Peshmerga forces have gone into three villages close to Mosul, where fighting is still going on."

He added that taking control of the area, west of Mosul, could pave the way for the Iraqi military to storm Mosul.

The US-led coalition has provided air cover for advancing Peshmerga fighters by bombing IS positions, vehicles and artillery.

A local source in Nineveh province told al-Araby that the IS captured 40 young men from the al-Jahish tribe in the Shura region south of Mosul after clashes with the tribe.

The attack was reportedly retaliation for the death of IS fighters killed while trying to abduct four tribesmen. Al-Araby cannot independently confirm this information.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.