Batt­le for Mo­sul: 2 dead­ly ki­lo­me­ters se­pa­ra­te ISIS and Ira­qi troops

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

IRAQ - It is across the ghost­ly si­len­ce and den­se dust of the berms bet­ween ISIS’ Mo­sul and ad­van­cing Ira­qi spe­ci­al for­ces that the fi­nal chap­ter of ISIS’ ex­tinc­ti­on in Iraq will play out.

Yet at dusk on Sa­tur­day, the 2 ki­lo­me­ters bet­ween the US-trai­ned Gol­den Di­vi­si­on and the me­die­val world of the so-cal­l­ed ca­lip­ha­te sud­den­ly we­re af­la­me with the lo­a­thing and ter­ror of the world’s war on ISIS.

Tra­cer rounds flas­hed across the ho­ri­zon; the sparks and thud of count­less ex­plo­si­ons rock­ed the tiny vil­la­ge of Ba­zwaya, split in two by the clo­sing sta­ges of this batt­le. Fero­cious and con­stant, it ca­me clo­ser and clo­ser to the Ira­qi ba­se whe­re we filmed from a roof­top.

By the end of the fearso­me ex­chan­ge -- which fell si­lent af­ter hea­vy ar­til­lery flew over our heads -- a stag­ge­ring 14 Ira­qi sol­diers we­re dead, so­me of the worst los­ses sustai­ned by the unit. When Maj. Hus­sien Hus­sien’s Gol­den Di­vi­si­on unit pi­led in to Ba­zwaya, they ar­ri­ved as ve­te­rans of the war on ISIS. Ha­ving fought in Ra­ma­di and Fal­lu­ja, Hus­sien has a se­ries of scars on his right ear from a roc­ket-pro­pel­led gre­na­de at­tack months ear­lier.

They are the li­te­ral tip of the spear in the glo­bal war on the mi­li­tant group. De­spi­te the risk of being flan­ked, the men de­fi­ant­ly hold a tiny strip of land jut­ting pe­ri­lous­ly in­to ISIS ter­ri­to­ry. The Gol­den Di­vi­si­on mo­ved in­to the town a few days ear­lier, put­ting them within 2 or 3 ki­lo­me­ters of the area near the Mo­sul ci­ty li­mits known as Gog­ja­li. Hus­sien ag­gres­si­ve­ly ta­kes on ISIS po­si­ti­ons, using tanks to pi­le in­to the dust at night and fire on are­as from which his out­posts are ha­ras­sed. We watch as a se­ries of rounds hit dis­tant buil­dings mar­ked by flags. In the dark­ness, we can­not tell if the flags are whi­te to de­no­te ci­vi­lians, or black to de­no­te tho­se ac­cu­sed of using them as hu­man shields: ISIS. Hus­sien and his men use vi­deos filmed from sni­per sco­pes and Goog­le maps to tar­get their prey. The co­a­li­ti­on has li­ai­sons ne­ar­by, but not the vo­lu­me of tech­no­lo­gy re­qui­red to ful­ly map out ISIS across this hu­ge front.


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