“The who­le world is co­ming HERE TO fiGHT”

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

IRAQ - Thou­sands of troops are mas­sing out­si­de Isis-held Mo­sul in pre­pa­ra­ti­on for a batt­le that could spell the end of the ter­ror group in Iraq. The fight to re­claim the ci­ty is ex­pec­ted to be­gin next week in what will be the big­gest Ira­qi mi­li­ta­ry ope­ra­ti­on sin­ce the US-led in­va­si­on in 2003. A suc­ces­sful con­quest would de­st­roy ISIS’s last bas­ti­on of po­wer in the country, and re­pre­sent a se­rious blow to its le­gi­ti­ma­cy. So­me 30,000 Ira­qi troops are ex­pec­ted to ta­ke part in the batt­le, with sup­port from US spe­ci­al for­ces and wes­tern co­a­li­ti­on war­pla­nes. The Ira­qi ar­my re­cap­tu­red the to­wn of Qayy­a­rah in Au­gust, and is ad­van­cing 25 mi­les to Mo­sul in pre­pa­ra­ti­on for the new of­fen­si­ve. “All the troops are rea­dy, now they are just wai­ting for the or­der from the pri­me mi­nis­ter,” said Ma­jor Ge­ne­ral Na­jim al-Job­ori, one of the top Ira­qi com­man­ders over­see­ing the Mo­sul ope­ra­ti­on. “The head of the sna­ke is Mo­sul,” he said. “I think ISIS knows this is the end of ISIS in Iraq.” Si­tu­a­ted on the west bank of the Ti­gris Ri­ver, 250 mi­les from Bagh­dad, Mo­sul is Iraq’s se­cond lar­gest ci­ty. It used to be a bust­ling ci­ty of two and a half mil­li­on pe­o­p­le, and was fa­med for its uni­ver­si­ty, one of the lar­gest edu­ca­ti­on cen­tres in the Midd­le East. Sin­ce Mo­sul’s cap­tu­re by ISIS in Ju­ne 2014, it has been the sce­ne of in­cre­a­sing bru­tal atro­ci­ties as the ter­ror group strug­gles to con­tain dis­con­tent among 600,000 remai­ning re­si­dents. In Au­gust, ni­ne young men we­re tied to iron po­les and cut in half with chainsaws af­ter they we­re ac­cu­sed of be­lon­ging to a ‘re­sis­tan­ce fac­ti­on’. “ISIS is pa­nick­ed,” one re­si­dent told The Te­le­graph. ‘Sin­ce they lost Qayy­a­rah, they ha­ve be­gun to tigh­ten their se­cu­ri­ty; car­rying out mass ar­rests and rai­ding hou­ses in search for we­apons and il­legal pho­nes.’ ISIS com­man­ders re­a­li­se the sym­bo­lic im­por­tan­ce of main­tai­ning its ter­ri­to­ry in Iraq. Mo­sul is by far the big­gest ci­ty held by the mi­li­tants - around four to fi­ve ti­mes the si­ze of any other ur­ban area re­cap­tu­red so far from the figh­ters Iraq was whe­re the group’s foun­der, Abu Bakr al-Bagh­da­di, first an­noun­ced the cre­a­ti­on of a ‘ca­lip­ha­te’ in April 2013. The esti­ma­ted 60,000 ji­ha­dis in the ci­ty ha­ve dug in for what is ex­pec­ted to be a com­plex and bloody batt­le. Ac­cor­ding to The Te­le­graph, the ji­ha­dis ha­ve rig­ged a che­mi­cal plant with ex­plo­si­ves with the in­ten­ti­on of using the ci­vi­li­an po­pu­la­ti­on as hu­man shields.


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