The operation to liberate Mosul, Iraq from the Islamic State is set to begin within days
On Tuesday Oct 4, Iraq launched a radio station to help Mosul residents stay safe during the upcoming military offensive. The radio will give instructions on possible safe exit routes, places to avoid, where to find assistance and emergency numbers to call during the offensive. The Radio of the Republic of Iraq in Mosul is based in the town of Qayyara, 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Mosul and home to an airbase which will serve as a hub for the U.S.-led coalition supporting Iraqi military units.
Elite US troops are being pumped into the Mosul region – 600 last week and more on the way. Altogether an estimated 12,500 US servicemen are assigned for the Mosul offensive, which is due to be launched at any time now. They will have the help of tens of thousands of Iraqi and Kurdish troops along with thousands of international Special Forces and heavy coalition air cover.
A column has already advanced into the desert west of Mosul along pipeline roads and tracks to close off the city from that direction, preventing IS from bringing in reinforcements or slipping away to Syria.
11 Iraqi army and special forces’ brigades are advancing to the attack, with each brigade numbering about 2,000 troops. A further five units of tribal or paramilitary police forces are also ready, comprising about 6,000 troops, mainly Sunni Arabs from the broad Mosul area.
The Kurdish Peshmerga forces and small Kurdish-backed paramilitary police units manned by micro-minorities (Christians and Kakai) are to advance from the north-east.
Order of Battle
The next phase of the battle will be a multi-pronged advance on the city.
Most likely the main thrust will drive up the Baghdad-Mosul highway on the west bank of the Tigris River.
A big push is coming on the east bank of the Tigris, aiming at the eastern side of the city.
Turkish president Erdogan has revealed that the assault on Mosul city will begin on 19 Oct. By the time of the US elections on 8 November Mosul city will likely have been penetrated at multiple points and perhaps already liberated.
The 2-3,000 IS fighters are facing more than 50,000 highly trained attackers with the latest in equipment and intensive air support, after having booby trapped throughout the city they are likely to pick a couple of neighbourhoods to strongly defend, with a last stand at
the government centre in western Mosul.
As soon as Mosul is secure these international forces along with the Kurds and Americans will roll into Syria to take on the Islamic State center at Raqqa.
While the US is occupied with the Islamic State, Syria is expected to continue its own offensive against the American sponsored Al Qaeda rebels inside Syria.
Meanwhile a barrage of unsubstantiated accusations against Russia by US of officials – the Americans say “we believe” but admit they have no proof at all, indicating that they are doing their best to provoke a situation with Russia – and studies by US officials on attacking Syrian forces, are driving a looming confrontation between the US and Russia once the Islamic State has been disposed of.
Two new US bases have just been completed. One is near the Mosul Dam, which regulates the flow of the Tigris River bisecting the targeted city. A second is located in the Bashiqa Mountains north of Mosul.
Before the operation Iraqi and coalition forces have been bombarding Mosul with bombs and radio broadcasts and leaflets instructing civilians of the coming offensive and notifying them of their exit routes.
A major part of the plan includes safeguarding civilians in the city. “The minute we are on the verge of the city, we will notify our forces to go in and collect as many as possible before going in,” Malaki said. “We will also open a rescue path to ensure safe passage for the ones we can’t get beforehand.”