Inside Mosul: Feb. 23, 2017

Detailed updates from Islamic State militant-held areas of Ninewa province, gathered via Iraq Oil Report's network of reporters and contacts.
Inside Mosul: Feb. 23, 2017
Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service forces in the Gogjali suburb on the edge of Mosul, Nov. 30, 2016. (PATRICK OSGOOD/Iraq Oil Report)
  • Iraqi forces begin Right Bank campaign with multi-front offensive
  • Intense barrage of airstrikes support Iraqi ground forces; civilian casualties reported
  • IS militants threaten to behead civilians found with mobile phones, execute IS members who helped their families escape to liberated Left Bank
  • Two named IS leaders reportedly killed in airstrikes

Editor's Note: Iraq Oil Report gathers daily updates on security and humanitarian developments inside Mosul city and surrounding IS-held areas in Ninewa province from a network of local reporters, residents, resistance fighters, and IS militants. Because of the physical risks associated with information-gathering in these areas, these reports are not comprehensive, and many cannot be confirmed via multiple, reliable sources. Nonetheless, we believe there is a significant public interest in publishing this reporting.

The Custom Research Service of Iraq Oil Report also collects hard data on violence in IS-held territory, compiles maps and analysis of trends, and tracks economic indicators including commodity prices. For more information, email Custom Research Service Director Jared Levy at CRS@iraqoilreport.com.

Iraqi military activity

Iraqi forces launched their campaign to take the IS-occupied Right Bank of Mosul with a multi-front offensive.

Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces and 16th Division forces engaged in an intense battle with IS militants in the Tal al-Ruman, Wadi Hajjar, and Mahmoun neighborhoods. IS militants put up staunch resistance, with some sources indicating there was a high concentration of foreign fighters deployed for the battle. Iraqi Army artillery crews and warplanes believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition provided extensive cover fire and airstrikes, which inadvertently killed several civilians, according to eyewitnesses. Around 30 IS militants were killed in the day's fighting; 20 more were injured. At least seven VBIEDs were destroyed, as well as six rocket positions and five mortar positions. (Sources: civilian eyewitnesses in the Tal al-Ruman, Wadi Hajjar, and al-Mahmoun neighborhoods)

Iraqi ground forces, backed by warplanes believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition, managed to retake Mosul airport, the sugar factory and al-Sukr housing complex. Civilians were killed in al-Sukr housing complex by Iraqi forces' artillery fire. In the day's fighting, about 25 IS militants were killed, and five VBIEDs, four rocket positions, and a machine-gun-mounted pickup truck were destroyed. (Sources: soldiers from the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army and the 1st Division of the Federal Police)

CTS forces, along with the 16th and 15th division of the Iraqi Army, took control of the al-Ghizlani military camp in southwestern Mosul. They benefited from airstrikes believed to be provided by the U.S.-led coalition. About 16 IS militants were killed, and four VBIEDs, four Katyusha rockets, and three mortar positions were destroyed. Unlike the battles in Tal al-Ruman and al-Mahmoun neighborhoods, IS fighters did not put up much resistance. (Source: soldiers from the 15th and 16th divisions)

CTS forces and 5th Division Iraqi Army forces, supported by warplanes believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition, took control of the "German Hospital," which IS militants had used as a operations center and heavy arms warehouse. The fighting set off several large, secondary explosions in the warehouse, which was stocked with C4 and other explosives. About 20 IS militants were killed, and three VBIEDs and four mortar positions were destroyed. (Source: a member of CTS and a member of the 5th Division)

CTS forces and the 16th Division of the Iraqi Army breached the al-Mahash market area near Tal-al-Ruman. IS militants did not put up much resistance in the area - an apparent sign that their defenses were spread thin due to Iraqi forces attacking on so many different fronts. Airstrikes believed to be launched by the U.S.-led coalition destroyed four VBIEDs, four rocket positions, and three mortar positions. About 16 IS militants were killed. (Source: 16th Division soldiers)

The Federal Police Rapid Response Division (RRD) 1st Battalion and the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army found a mass grave in an area between Kantira and Albu Saif. The victims appear to be civilians who were forced to leave villages between Qayarah and Mosul, who had been forced to join IS militants as they retreated northward toward Mosul. (Source: RRD officer and 9th Division soldier)

The Iraqi Army's 15th and 16th divisions expelled IS militants from al-Qawar village, west of the al-Sachahi area, on the west side of Mosul. Security forces are now conducting clearance operations in al-Qawar, including removing IEDs. By controlling the village, Iraqi forces gain an entry route into Mosul city from the west. (Source: members of the 15th and 16th divisions)

The 9th, 15th and 16th divisions are preparing to start operations to engage IS militants on the northern side of Mosul, by crossing the river and entering the Hilila and Mushirfa areas. (Source: soldiers from the 15th and 16th divisions)

(Map created by the Institute for the Study of War)

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Airstrikes

Special Forces Staff Gen. Abdulameer Rasheed Yarallah al-Lami said in a statement that Iraqi military aircraft conducted 28 combat missions and the U.S.-led international coalition conducted 15 missions, including four helicopter missions and eight drone missions, which would make Thursday one of the most active days for airstrikes ever in the war against the IS group. Iraq Oil Report has gathered independent reporting on several of the airstrikes via sources on the ground.

At about 1:15 a.m. F16s believed to be operated by the Iraqi military targeted a factory used to make VBIEDs, rockets and IEDs in Khuiniya village in the Tal Afar district, west of Mosul. A second factory was also destroyed in nearby al-Alo village. About 20 IS militants were killed in total. (Source: soldiers from the 15th and 16th divisions, and a member of an al-Hashid al-Shabi unit operating near Mosul)

At about 2:30 a.m. warplanes believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition struck a building near the Mosul Hotel on the Right Bank, which IS militants had been using as an operations center and arms warehouse. Seven IS militants were killed and one machine-gun-mounted pickup truck and three mortar positions were destroyed. (Source: civilian resident of the New Mosul neighborhood)

At about 8:50 a.m. warplanes believed to belong to the Iraqi military struck an IS convoy while it was driving from the Right Bank toward the Mosul airport. About 22 IS militants were killed, and the vehicles in the convoy - some of them large trucks loaded with weapons - were destroyed. (Source: soldier from the 9th Armored Division)

At about 10 a.m. a warplane believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition hit an IS sniper position in the al-Josak neighborhood, near the Fourth Bridge, on the Right Bank. Four IS snipers were believed to be killed, and one Kia truck with a machine gun mounted to it was destroyed. (Source: civilian resident of the New Mosul neighborhood)

At about 11:50 a.m. aircraft believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition targeted an IS gathering in the al-Somood neighborhood on the Right Bank, killing five IS militants and destroying one pickup truck with a mortar launcher on top of it. (Source: civilian resident of New Mosul neighborhood)

Warplanes believed to be operated by the Iraqi military hit targets in al-Mahmoun and al-Josek neighborhoods, killing an IS leader identified as Abdulallah Sulimana al-Jabouri, who had responsibility for anti-aircraft operations. Six other IS militants were also killed, and two Humvees, an anti-aircraft gun, and three rocket positions were destroyed. (Sources: civilian residents of the New Mosul and Mahmoun neighborhoods)

Warplanes believed to belong to the Iraqi military targeted an IS gathering in al-Atshana village, west of Mosul, reportedly killing an IS leader identified as Ammar Mustafa Yousif al-Affri, who was thought to be the "wali," or governor, responsible for the IS group's so-called Jazeera ("desert") province. Twelve other IS militants were also killed. (Source: Hashid fighter stationed to the west of Mosul)

IS militant activity

IS militants swept al-Yarmouk neighborhood, arresting people found with mobile phones, and warning residents that anyone found with a phone would be killed by beheading. (Source: civilian resident of New Mosul neighborhood)

At about 11:50 a.m. IS militants executed three IS members for smuggling their families to the liberated Left Bank of Mosul. (Source: one IS member and one civilian eyewitness from the Tal al-Ruman neighborhood)

IS beheaded a young man in Tal al-Ruman neighborhood after accusing him of communicating with Iraqi security forces. (Source: eyewitness in Tal al-Ruman)

IS militants evacuated their families away from Right Bank neighborhoods where there is now active fighting. They have relocated to the Islah al-Zerahi and Mushirfa areas. (Source: eyewitnesses in the New Mosul and Wadi Hajjar neighborhoods)

IS militants put up concrete walls and other types of barriers in al-Josek, al-Somood and al-Tayran neighborhoods. (Source: civilians in the New Mosul and Wadi Hajjar neighborhoods)

Resistance and civilian activity

Members of Kataib al-Mosul killed one IS militant inside his house in al-Tayran neighborhood. (Source: Kataib al-Mosul member)

Iraqi staff reporting on Mosul are anonymous for their security.

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