Wednesday November 2, 2016
The battle of Mosul has been joined, finally, as Iraqi Special Forces entered the city limits earlier today from the east. (BBC) The early reports suggest that the Islamic State fighters responded with guided anti-tank missiles and small arms to block the Iraqi advance. Al Jazeera reported that the battle is “intense” and IS fighters are putting up “stiff resistance” against the approaching forces.
The IS has set the oil wells on fire to obscure their positions from possible air attacks. Nonetheless, US air strikes are continuing. Another Iraqi column from the south is still 35 kms away from Mosul city.
To the north, Kurdish forces and Iraqi army units are approaching the city, while the Shi’ite militias are covering the western flank to cut off any escape route for the IS fighters in the direction of Syria. There is a tacit understanding that the Iran-backed Shi’ite militia known as the Popular Mobilisation Force will not enter the Sunni-dominated Mosul city.