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Battle of Mosul (2015/2016)
Part of the Iraq War (2014–present) and
the military intervention against ISIL
Ninawa map.svg
Location of the Nineveh Province in Iraq
DateTo be determined in 2015–16[according to whom?]
LocationMosul, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq
Belligerents

Republic of Iraq

 Iraqi Kurdistan

Airstrikes:
CJTF–OIR
United States[1]
United Kingdom United Kingdom[2]
 Canada[3]
 Jordan[4]
 Morocco[5]

Supported by:
Iran Islamic Republic of Iran[6]

Other support:

Assyrian Militia[8]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Iraq/Iraqi Kurdistan Fuad Masum
Iraq Haider al-Abadi
Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani
Iran Qasem Soleimani
United States Barack Obama
United Kingdom David Cameron
Canada Stephen Harper
Jordan Abdullah II

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (WIA)
(Self-declared Caliph)[9]

Abu Suleiman al-Naser (Military Chief)
Strength

Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan:

  • 5,000 soldiers[1]

Iraq Iraq:

  • 25,000 soldiers (planned)[10]
  • 15,000 Sunni tribal fighters[11]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL:

  • 12,000+ fighters[12]


The Battle of Mosul (2015) is a planned offensive by the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces,[citation needed] with air support from the American-led coalition, against the ISIL-occupied city of Mosul in northern Iraq.[citation needed] The campaign is planned as an attempt to retake the city after the ISIL takeover in June 2014.[citation needed] Although Peshmerga forces encircled the city on three sides by late January 2015,[1] the Iraqi Army was expected to launch a battle for the city in the months to come.[citation needed] In anticipation of the outcome, and in reference to the objective of the campaign, the operation has also been referred to as the Liberation of Mosul by the Iraqi Army and allied forces.[13][not in citation given] Being a major force in the previous battles against ISIL[citation needed], the Shia militia is supposed not to be part of the coalition in this offensive[citation needed], as Mosul's population mostly consists of Sunnis.[citation needed]

Background[edit | edit source]

Ever since the city of Mosul fell to ISIL forces on 10 June 2014, the United States and the Iraqi Government had been planning to retake the city.[citation needed] Initially, the original plan called for an assault on Mosul in July or August 2015, even though some US officials claimed that an attack at that point would be "too late."[citation needed] On December 25, 2014, after Hassan Saeed Al-Jabouri, the ISIL governor of Mosul, was killed by a US-led Coalition airstrike in Mosul, it was revealed that the US planned to retake the city of Mosul in January 2015.[14] In late January 2015, Iraqi Army forces began preparing for the assault on Mosul.[15]

Preparations[edit | edit source]

Preemptive Kurdish offensive[edit | edit source]

On 21 January 2015, 5,000 Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers launched an offensive to the northwest of Mosul city, recapturing multiple villages and severing a key ISIL supply route linking Mosul to Tel Afar and Syria.[1] The offensive came amid speculation that the Iraqi Army was preparing for an offensive on Mosul.[citation needed] An estimated 200 ISIL militants were killed on the first day of the offensive.[citation needed] The US-led Coalition also boosted its airstrikes in the region, in response to the Kurdish-launched offensive.[16]

Continuing ISIL–Kurdish clashes[edit | edit source]

On 16 March, the Peshmerga bombed ISIL strongholds in the Forest area of central Mosul from Mount Baashiqa, killing and wounding dozens of ISIL fighters.[17] Eight days later, Peshmerga forces clashed with ISIL forces in eastern Mosul, killing 13 ISIL militants.[18]

Airstrikes[edit | edit source]

Between 12 February and 21 June, at least 91 Coalition airstrikes took place near Mosul, striking 23 ISIL tactical units and destroying 31 ISIL fighting positions, 13 vehicles, 12 heavy machine guns, 12 excavators, 11 ISIL buildings, seven armored vehicles, nine staging areas, five rocket and four mortar firing positions, two bulldozers, two IED factories, a checkpoint and a trench system.[16][19][20] The sorties included British RAF Tornado GR4 patrols which attacked ISIL defenses around Mosul with Paveway IV laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles.[21]

The airstrikes killed or wounded dozens of ISIL militants.[22] One round of Coalition strikes on 5 April, killed a total of 18 ISIL militants in Western Mosul,[23] while from 25 to 26 March, US-led Coalition airstrikes were reported to have killed over 150 ISIL militants in Mosul.[24]

On 6 March, it was reported that Shakir al-Hamdani, ISIL's third Governor of Mosul, was killed in a US-led Coalition airstrike.[25]

On 3 May 2015, the Guardian reported that ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was recovering from severe injuries he received from a 18 March 2015 airstrike, in a part of Mosul. In the meantime, Abu Alaa Afri had assumed control of ISIL as Deputy Leader. It was also reported that al-Baghdadi's spinal injury, which left him incapacitated, means that he may never be able to fully resume direct command of ISIL.[9]

On 15 June, US airstrikes in Mosul killed Ali Awni al-Harzi, a Tunisian ISIL operative who was a CIA person of interest, and had suspected links to the 2012 Benghazi attack. He was also said to operate closely with ISIL militants in North Africa and across the Middle East.[26] He was the brother of Tariq bin al-Tahar bin al-Falih al-'Awni al-Harzi, who was killed in Syria the following day.[27] On 23 June, Zaalan al-Afari, the finance minister of ISIL, was killed with four other ISIL militants by a booby-trap on the road while returning from the town of Gayara to Mosul.[28]

Planning and delays[edit | edit source]

On 17 February, Iraqi Colonel Masoud Salih stated that the battle to liberate Mosul would probably take 30,000 soldiers, and at least 10 months. Also, he stated that another Iraqi official had estimated a minimum of 12,000 ISIL militants present in the city, dismissing rumors of 30,000 militants being present as "ISIS propaganda."[12]

In late February 2015, it was revealed that around 25,000 well-trained Iraqi ground troops,[10] trained by American forces, will be deployed to retake the city of Mosul.[29] Additionally, it was revealed that the Iraqi Army should join the liberation effort by April or early May 2015, with the intention of avoiding having to fight during Iraq's summer heat around Ramadan. It was also reported by US General Lloyd Austin that small numbers of US troops could join the fray, if they are needed.[10]

In early March 2015, it was reported that Turkey was planning to send ground troops to participate in the Liberation of Mosul, although a Turkish senior official stated that Turkey may limit its contributions to logistics.[30] On 4 March, the Iraqi Defense Minister stated that Iraq could retake Mosul without help from foreign ground forces.[31]

On 11 March, ISIL threatened on loudspeakers to behead any civilian who tries to leave Mosul. The announcement came one day after US planes dropped paper pamphlets into the city, warning of an imminent military confrontation, and advising all civilians to evacuate the city.[32] Also, on the same day, the US-led Coalition carried out five airstrikes in and around Mosul, which struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL outpost, and destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle.[16]

On 11 June, Iraqi General Najim al-Jubouri, the commander of the planned operation to retake Mosul, reported that Iraqi special forces were massing to the north of Baghdad and Baiji, in preparation for the coming battle. Units from the 15th and 16th Divisions of the Iraqi Army, federal police, and Golden Brigade were said to have been dispatched. General al-Jubouri also stated that the Iraqi forces deployed had been trained, and that they will be equipped with advanced weapons when the assault begins. He also said that the operation would be accompanied by an intense Coalition air campaign against ISIL positions in Mosul.[33]

On 12 June 2015, Head of Ninawa Operations Command General Najim al-Jubouri stated that the planned offensive for Mosul had begun, with Iraqi forces, along with Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces fighters, being deployed to the city of Baiji, on the road to Mosul. US-led Coalition warplanes were also reported to be pounding ISIL positions in Mosul. However, it was noted that the only one who could officially declare the start of the battle was the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, which he did not.[34][35] In addition, two days earlier, The Daily Beast interviewed the general who said the date to begin the operation, "may be very close but I can’t tell you when exactly". When pressed he said it would take place in less than a year and that more than 30,000 soldiers would take part, which some analysts found hard to believe since the Iraqi military was still decimated and rebuilding following the successful ISIL offensive of June 2014. The news agency described the general's plan to retake the city as "fantasy".[36] Another contributing factor to the delay of the offensive was the ISIL capture of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, in May 2015.[37] As of late June, Iraqi General al-Jubouri said that forces were still being marshaled for an assault on Mosul, while city residents were becoming increasingly disappointed at the constant delays of the offensive.[11]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Morris, Loveday (January 22, 2015). "Kurds say they have ejected Islamic State militants from large area in Northern Iraq". http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/kurds-say-they-have-ejected-islamic-state-from-a-big-area-in-northern-iraq/2015/01/21/ac459372-a1c6-11e4-b146-577832eafcb4_story.html. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  2. "Update: air strikes in Iraq". 17 February 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/latest-iraq-air-strikes. 
  3. "Operation IMPACT – Air Task Force-Iraq airstrikes". http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact-airstrikes.page. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  4. "Jordan carries out air strikes in Iraq, killing 55 IS militants". i24 News. 4 February 2015. http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/60008-150204-king-abdullah-lands-in-jordan-following-murder-of-pilot. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  5. "Morocco Sends its F16s to Syria and Iraq to Fight ISIS". The Moroccan Times. http://moroccantimes.com/2014/12/morocco-sends-f16s-syria-iraq-fight-isis/. 
  6. "US and Iran working together in Iraq - Business Insider". Business Insider. 4 April 2015. http://uk.businessinsider.com/us-and-iran-working-together-in-iraq-2015-4?r=US. 
  7. "The Problem with Retaking Mosul". International Policy Digest. http://www.internationalpolicydigest.org/2015/02/27/the-problem-with-retaking-mosul/. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  8. "Exiled Iraqi Christians train for retaking of Mosul". The Times of Israel. http://www.timesofisrael.com/exiled-iraqi-christians-train-to-retake-mosul/. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Abdelhak Mamoun. "ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is incapacitated, says the Guardian". Iraq news, the latest Iraq news. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/isis-leader-al-baghdadi-incapacitated-says-guardian/. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Greg Botelho and Barbara Starr, CNN (20 February 2015). "U.S. official: Plans in place for 25,000-strong Iraqi spring push to retake Mosul". http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/20/middleeast/iraq-isis/. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ammar Al Shamary and Gilgamesh Nabeel, Special for USA TODAY (21 June 2015). "Year after Mosul's fall to ISIL, Iraqis continue to wait for freedom". USA TODAY. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/06/21/iraq-mosul-islamic-state/28976459/. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Expert: seizing Mosul may take 10 months, 30,000 troops". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/170220152. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  13. "Kurds are close to retaking Mosul". Feb 10, 2015. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/02/10/Kurds-Are-Close-Retaking-Mosul-ISIS. .
  14. Per Liljas (December 25, 2014). "Iraqi Police: Coalition Airstrikes Kill ISIS Governor of Mosul". Time. http://time.com/3647361/iraq-isis-governor-mosul/. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  15. "Iraqi army readies for assault on Mosul". 10 January 2015. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/01/iraqi-army-readies-assault-mosul-2015110164639347982.html. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Operation Inherent Resolve Strike Updates". United States Department of Defense. January 26, 2015. http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2014/0814_iraq/Airstrikes6.html. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  17. Abdelhak Mamoun. "URGENT: Peshmerga bombs ISIS strongholds in Mosul". Iraq news, the latest Iraq news. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/urgent-peshmerga-bombs-isis-strongholds-mosul/. 
  18. Amre Sarhan. "Peshmerga forces kill 13 ISIS elements eastern Mosul". Iraq news, the latest Iraq news. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/peshmerga-forces-kill-13-isis-elements-eastern-mosul/. 
  19. "Update: air strikes in Iraq". 15 April 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/latest-iraq-air-strikes. 
  20. "Update: air strikes in Iraq". 29 May 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-air-strikes-in-iraq. 
  21. "Update: air strikes in Iraq". UK government. 20 March 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/latest-iraq-air-strikes. 
  22. Amre Sarhan. "Coalition strike kills dozens of ISIS militants in western Mosul". Iraq news, the latest Iraq news. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/coalition-strike-kills-dozens-isis-militants-western-mosul/. 
  23. Amre Sarhan. "Coalition strike kills 18 ISIS militants in western Mosul". Iraq news, the latest Iraq news. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/coalition-strike-kills-18-isis-militants-western-mosul/. 
  24. "Official: airstrikes kill 150 ISIS militants in Mosul". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/260320151. 
  25. "Mosul's ISIS governor killed in targeted airstrike". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/07032015. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  26. Joscelyn, Thomas (23 June 2015). "Benghazi suspect killed in Mosul, Pentagon says". http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/06/benghazi-suspect-killed-in-mosul-pentagon-says.php. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  27. Martinez, Luis (2 July 2015). "Top ISIS leader killed by US drone strike in Syria". http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/top-isis-leader-killed-us-drone-strike-syria/story?id=32192099. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  28. "ISIS finance minister killed in Mosul ambush". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/230620153. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  29. "Pentagon Laying Out New Plans to Battle Terror Groups In Iraq". Yahoo News. 20 February 2015. http://news.yahoo.com/video/pentagon-laying-plans-battle-terror-113649291.html. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  30. "Turkey may participate in ground operations against ISIS in Mosul". ARA News. http://aranews.net/2015/03/turkey-may-participate-in-ground-operations-against-isis-in-mosul/. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  31. "DM: Iraq to Liberate ISIL-Seized Mosul without Foreign Help". http://www.syriatruths.com/dm-iraq-to-liberate-isil-seized-mosul-without-foreign-help/. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  32. "ISIS threatens: any civilian leaves Mosul to be beheaded". ARA News. http://aranews.net/2015/03/isis-threatens-any-civilian-leaves-mosul-to-be-beheaded/. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  33. "Iraq". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/12062015. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  34. "Operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS begins: military officer". http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/06/12/Operation-to-liberate-Mosul-from-ISIS-begins-military-officer-.html. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  35. "Iraq: Operation to retake Mosul from Isis begins". International Business Times UK. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraq-operation-retake-mosul-isis-begins-1505842. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  36. "An Iraqi General’s ‘Plan’ To Retake Mosul Is A Fantasy". The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/14/an-iraqi-general-s-plan-to-retake-mosul-is-a-fantasy.html. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  37. "Washington puts Mosul offensive on hold as Isis strategy shifts to Ramadi". Newsweek. 10 June 2015. http://europe.newsweek.com/washington-puts-mosul-offensive-hold-isis-strategy-shifts-ramadi-328534. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 

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