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Moezx Al @moezx
#Isis fighter captured in #Kirkuk has confessed saying that #turkish aircraft deployed them south of kirkuk near sari taba. #iraq #mosul.
During the past 48 hours #Peshmerga killed about 107 #ISIL & destroyed 3 vehicle & captured 11 others in #Kirkuk.
#Daesh has set on fire a sulfur plant near #Mosul, 4 ppl died & hundreds suffer breathing problems from toxic smoke. [photo by NYT] #الموصل
Iraqi forces marching toward bloodbath with ISIS: Special report from the Mosul front lines
“The timing of this battle is political, not military,” Col. Abdullah Mirza, commander of the medical company
says diplomatically, refusing to speculate on the reasons the fight is taking place now.
When not quoted by name, Kurdish officers are much less circumspect. “It’s clear that we’re going to war now so that Obama can say he’s liberated Mosul before he leaves the White House,” says one. Many of them are calling the operation, which has not received an official name, "Operation Obama."
The role of the Americans in this battle isn’t always clear. Crossing the battlefields and barren plains are “the Ameriki” – teams of U.S. special forces whose uniforms without insignia are similar to the peshmerga’s. The Americans, who even carry Kalashnikovs instead of U.S.-made rifles, disappear into their vehicles the moment media cameras appear on the scene.
They stand out with their bush hats, immaculate weapons, new jeeps and armored vehicles. No one is sure of their exact objective and the role they’re playing against the Islamic State. The heavy lifting – clearing Islamic State fighters from thousands of streets and buildings of Mosul and the surrounding villages – can only be done by the local forces.
The enemy is also cloaked in mystery. When Islamic State fighters are captured alive, as often happens, it’s hard for their captors to identify them by name.
“ISIS takes away the identification papers and passports from all its fighters,” an Iraqi officer says. “When we interrogate them, many of them won’t give their names or say where they’re from, just ‘I’m from the Islamic State.’ From their accents, many of them are Sunni or Turkomen Iraqis. But we’ve captured quite a few Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans, as well as quite a few Chechens from Russia. Also a few Europeans. We contact their governments to try to identify them.”
Iraqi Shi'ite militias launched an offensive toward the west of Mosul on Saturday, an operation that will tighten the noose around Islamic State's Iraq stronghold but has alarmed Turkey and could inflame tensions in the mainly Sunni area.
A spokesman for the Shi'ite militias, known as the Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) forces, said thousands of fighters "started operations this morning to clean up the hotbeds of Daesh (Islamic State) in the western parts of Mosul".
But their deployment close to the border with neighboring Turkey prompted a warning from President Tayyip Erdogan, who said Ankara aims to reinforce its troops on the frontier and threatened a "different response" for the militias if they "unleash terror" in Tal Afar.
Turkish troops have been training Sunni tribal combatants at an Iraqi camp northeast of Mosul, but a spokesman for the Shi'ite militias said earlier on Saturday the Turks were in no position to obstruct their advance.
This is what everyone feared about battle of #Mosul, ISIS decided to fighting in houses & streets among thousands of innocent people
intense clashes in @#Mosul's Tahrir neighborhood between #Iraq-i forces and #ISIS militants on Saturday morning. #MosulOffensive