RNA - It is ISIL’s last big urban stronghold in the country, west of the Tigris River, which is inhabited by some 650,000 civilians. The offensive is the fight of a lifetime to defeat the foreign-backed death cult, save civilians, and protect nationwide stability and the simple sanctity of life itself.
It's important to see the latest development in the following context:
-The battle to liberate West Mosul will take some time and the heaviest fighting is likely to come when the soldiers get into built up areas where the terrorist group has been digging tunnels and holes cut through the walls of houses so they can conduct a mobile defense away from artillery fire and airstrikes.
-British and American special forces are not leading the fresh offensive. SAS troops, with US Green Beret and Delta Force commandos, are not embedded with Iraqi fighting units in the battle. The forces of both countries are not on the ground, and are only limited to advisory and training roles.
-As previously, the fighting will be as fierce as anything seen in the battle to liberate the eastern parts of the city. The operation is being largely planned by the Iraqi Army that is carrying out airstrikes and has trained and equipped some 70,000 soldiers on the ground. The entire operation is being backed by volunteer forces and Iranian military advisors.
-Baghdad has already seized all of East Mosul and its grip on captured districts is strong. The battle for West Mosul is the climactic battle by the government and its allies to put the last nails in the coffin of self-declared Medieval Caliphate. This might give ISIL an extra reason to hold the city to the last man, but it doesn’t change the fact that its days are numbered.
-With the battle still happening, some Western media outlets have begun broadcasting fake news that allegedly show videos of young men being beaten and summarily executed. They claim this is happening in places already taken by Iraqi troops. They refuse to verify the authenticity of these images though, which is suspicious, criminal, and counterproductive in itself. This is not an assault against what they call “the last great Sunni Arab city in Iraq.” This is about fighting terror and liberating a besieged community that never showed any intention to cooperate with ISIL from day one.
-Many lives are being sacrificed to ensure the terrorist group of ISIL has no future and no country in the Levant. After liberating many other cities and towns, government troops and Sunni-Shiite volunteer forces proved beyond any doubt that they are more than willing to sacrifice their lives for an inclusive and united Iraq. This has guaranteed their immediate military success everywhere. They are making similar sacrifices for Mosul, all while rebuilding civil administration for the liberated parts of the city and the surrounding provinces where ISIL held sway for two and a half years. That’s why no one ever believes the fake news about the alleged “gross abuse of civilians by uniformed Iraqi personnel” in the city.
The point in all this is that government forces are only fighting ISIL forces in West Mosul, not its people. It is silly to claim that together with Shiite militias they are looking for ISIL sympathizers in the Eastern parts, much less clubbing the civilians and shooting them to death on the spot because Shiite and Kurdish troops are fighting outside the city and not inside. There are no videos and images to substantiate these baseless allegations and dirty rumors. The city belongs to its people and they are the ones that will be living there, actively helping the government to rebuild their state and ensure long-term political stability for their communities. The inhabitants of Mosul see themselves as about to be liberated – never occupied again! They are openly helping the government forces to actively hinder ISIL on every front.
Here, two key points need closer attention as well:
ISIL continues to lose territory in its heartland spanning Iraq and Syria. This is not because various terrorist groups and competing forces have divergent goals and interests and/or find themselves gunning for the terrorists’ self-declared capital of Raqqa. Nor is it about increased conflict and enmity between these extremist enemies and their foreign patrons. Quite the contrary, it is the armed forces of Iraq and Syria that have successfully managed to eradicate ISIL and other extremists from many territories, even chase them out of borders. Unlike some regional and transregional players, the Syrian-Iraqi goals overlap. Their ultimate goal is total victory, to recapture every inch of Iraqi and Syrian soil, and to ensure Iraq and Syria remain as unitary states.
Into the argument, without the United States' and Britain's much claimed, but less seen support, the Iraqi forces have what it takes to retake the western parts of Mosul. The US-led coalition forces have shown little interest in fighting ISIL, let alone recapturing the city as it falls outside of their geopolitical interests. Without their coordination and military assistance, the battle to liberate the Western parts would be no different. Thousands of government troops are pushing towards the central parts of West Mosul, while tens of thousands of volunteer forces from different factions are standing outside to cut off the terrorists' escape routes to Syria. This war is decided in Baghdad – not thousands of kilometers away in Washington and London.