Islamic State: Losing Stronghold in Mosul
Residents in Mosul, Iraq say the Jihadists of the Islamic State high command no longer have enough cash to bankroll their terror operation. Meanwhile, there are approximately 3,000 militants that are stranded in the city, who are now facing obliteration from Iraqi and Kurdish freedom fighters as they close in on them.
The Islamic State fighters have apparently become so desperate, they are now smuggling civilian families out of Mosul in return for bribes or money, even though the militants have strict orders to use locals as human shields. Jihadist militants usually receive a small pension, somewhere around four hundred US dollars monthly, but that money has all but dried up and ISIS is facing a severe financial crisis.
Food, water, power, and relief aid for locals has also suffered. According to Express UK, a resident still living in the city that wished to remain anonymous said, “The only food left for people living on the western bank is potatoes. They boil them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
The anonymous resident added that in addition to the food shortage, many neighborhoods no longer have running water or electricity. Those that do are being exploited by ISIS fighters stating that “ISIS has tried to raise cash by demanding residents pay for their utilities six months in advance.” They are obviously not afraid or hesitant to exploit the situation.
For its income ISIS relies heavily on the money gained from selling oil obtained from captured fields, but the combination of airstrikes by the West, as well as Russia, along with the advances by Iraqi and Kurdish forces on the ground have left them staring at the bottom of their money barrel.
It is speculated that around 100,000 people have been able to flee Mosul since joint efforts by the Iraqi and Kurdish forces began in mid October. However, over a million still live in the ISIS controlled areas in conditions that are increasingly becoming unlivable.
To make matters worse for the Iraqi people, a bridge over the Tigris River last week was bombed and taken out by the United States led coalition in an effort to prevent the ISIS jihadists from calling in reinforcements, but this is also keeping vital aid from getting into the neighborhoods.
The ISIS fighters are utilizing car bombs, sniper positions and suicide attacks to slow Iraqi and Kurdish advances. ISIS is also taking advantage of civilians by deploying them as human shields in an effort to deter bombing raids by allied fighter jets.
Most of Eastern Mosul has now been liberated from the jihadist incursion, but the heavy concentration of jihadists that is still residing in the city has hampered fighting capabilities and the use of heavy weapons, such as artillery, to smoke ISIS out of hiding.
Iraqi Army Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati said, “Roughly 65-70 percent of the eastern side has been liberated. I think in the coming few days we will see the full liberation of the eastern side.”
Mosul is one of two remaining ISIS urban strongholds. Raqqa, Syria is the other stronghold and its thought that the fall of Raqqa will effectively mark the end of the Islamic State.