By Jessa Rose Dury-Agri and the ISW Iraq Team
Control of Terrain in Iraq
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) slowed its advance into western Mosul on March 26 in order to regroup and prepare for an assault on the Old City, the densest part of western Mosul in terms of both population and infrastructure. The U.S. is deploying an additional 240 soldiers to Mosul, likely to support a final push through the Old City. The ISF has also slowed its operation out of continued concerns of civilian casualties throughout the western Mosul operation. Humanitarian concerns flared when local sources claimed that a Coalition airstrike on March 17 killed as many as 200 civilians. Meanwhile, Iran is deepening the role of its proxy Badr Organization in Ninewa Province to influence the post-ISIS security and political structure in the province.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) made significant progress from March 9 to 16, pushing deep into western Mosul and eliminating ISIS’s presence north of the city. ISIS has reopened attack fronts around Tikrit and Baiji, however, underscoring that Mosul’s recapture will not defeat ISIS in Iraq.
The ISF has continued to make significant progress in operations to recapture terrain from ISIS in Mosul. The ISF cleared the last ISIS-held neighborhood in eastern Mosul on January 24 and launched operations to recapture western Mosul on February 19. As of March 9, the ISF has cleared Mosul International Airport, the Ghazlani Military Base, the Ninewa Government Center, and several neighborhoods in western Mosul.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recaptured the government complex in central Mosul on March 7. ISIS has increased its use of chemical weapons in its defense.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) isolated Mosul completely on March 1 as units advanced within the city towards the government center. The Popular Mobilization are nearing Tel Afar from the west and could breach the city in the coming weeks.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recaptured the Mosul Airport and Ghazlani military base on February 24 from where they advanced into neighborhoods in western Mosul.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) launched operations to retake western Mosul on February 19. The ISF has not yet begun operations inside western Mosul city, focusing instead on isolating ISIS in Mosul by cutting off exits routes west of the city and setting conditions to breach the city limits through the southern airport.
Operations in Mosul paused since the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recaptured eastern Mosul on January 24. The ISF is now preparing to retake the western side. Political conditions have changed, however. Increased pressure on Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to keep his premiership and uncertain relations between the U.S. and Iraq may allow pro-Iranian groups to extract concessions from PM Abadi that run contrary to U.S. interests in Iraq.