As the U.S.-backed offensive to capture the most important ISIS stronghold in Iraq enters its third month, ISIS is far from raising the white flag.
Figures couldn’t be confirmed, but a senior Pentagon officer told Politico last week that the battles between ISIS and the Iraqi forces are so intense that the Iraqi Special Forces battalions are suffering “Horrific” losses – “Upwards of 50 percent casualties” – raising concerns that the division could become ineffective in a little over a month.
Alongside casualties, ISIS claims it has managed to destroy more than 800 military vehicles belonging to the local Iraqi forces fighting against it, among them 32 American Abrams tanks used by the Iraqi army and 21 drones.
The Iraqi PMU released their own numbers on Saturday to mark two months of battle against ISIS. According to their figures, 450 ISIS fighters were killed fighting in Mosul and 122 villages were liberated from the hands of the terrorists.
IOM’s Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar called on donors, humanitarian partners and the Iraqi government to help to provide shelter to the displaced in the cold winter weather and rain.
According to Reuters, ISIS fighters have stepped up counterattacks on Iraqi forces in Mosul amid bad weather, and at the current pace of advance, the offensive is likely to extend into next year, beyond the initial forecast of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who promised to liberate it in 2016.
The operation, launched in mid-October, is led by the Iraqi army, the Kurdish Peshmerga militias and Iranian-backed Shiite forces on the ground, alongside U.S and other foreign air support.