Ad­vance into western Mo­sul mov­ing slowly

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

The Iraqi ad­vance into Mo­sul’s western half slowed Saturday as com­bat turned to ur­ban war­fare and Iraqi forces met stiff re­sis­tance from Is­lamic State fight­ers.

Spe­cial forces Lt. Gen. Ab­dulWa­hab al-Saadi said that his troops are “mov­ing very slowly” and that ISIS fight­ers are re­spond­ing with car bombs, snipers and dozens of armed drones.

The drones have caused rel­a­tively few deaths but have in­flicted dozens of light in­juries that have dis­rupted the pace of ground op­er­a­tions.

Al-Saadi said the Ma­mun neigh­bor­hood was par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult be­cause its streets are not or­ga­nized in a grid, a dif­fi­culty that fore­shad­ows ob­sta­cles Iraqi forces ex­pect to face in the nar­row al­ley­ways of western Mo­sul’s his­toric district.

But al-Saadi said he ex­pects the pace to in­crease af­ter Iraqi forces re­take ter­ri­tory and in­fra­struc­ture on Mo­sul’s south­west­ern edge — which will al­low them to shorten sup­ply lines and link up with forces in the city’s east.

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