On October 19, the battle for Mosul entered the 3rd day. The Iraqi army, the Iraqi Special Forces, the Iraqi Federal Police, the predominantly Shia Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Kurdish Peshmerga, supported by the US-led coalition’s air power and military advisers, continued the first phase of operations against ISIS, aiming to set a foothold for the storm of Mosul itself. About 5,000 soldiers of the Special Forces, mainly American, are embeded with the forces coducting military operations on the ground.
The Iraqi military says the country’s armed forces took control of the villages of Shami, Kharbat al-Hadid and al-Baydhah west of Mosul. The Iraqi forces also lliberated Kani al-Haramiyah village, southeast of Mosul, and set control over the road between Baghdad and Mosul.
The US-led coalition’s warplanes bombed ISIS targets in the village of Baaj west of Mosul. Nine terrorists were reportedly killed. Air strikes were also reported in Rawa town and some unspecified areas south of Mosul.
Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat, Commander of Federal Police Forces, reported that the Iraqi forces have liberated some 352 square kilometers from ISIS terrorists since Monday.
The military situation in Mosul countryside after the 2 days of operation against ISIS:
Reports continue to appear that ISIS terrorists are massively fleeing from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Syria while PMU sources blame the US-led coalition for avoiding bombing of military convoys of the terrorist group moving from Iraqi to Syria.
The modern course of events shows that ISIS is not going to conduct massive counter-attacks until the Iraqi forces have not reached Mosul. The main clashes will likely take place during the storm of the city itself.
Experts argue Washington is using this time to allow ISIS terrorists redeploy from Iraq to Syria where the terrorists would use fresh reinforcements to intensify operations against the Syrian government in the provinces Deir Ezzor and Homs.
Moscow has reportedly responded to this threat, reconstructing the T-4 Military Airport in eastern Homs. The Russian military had already used the airport as a forward staging post for its helicopter gunships during the operation in Palmyra and the nearby areas. However, the airfield was damaged with ISIS attacks later.
If the reconstruction is confirmed, the T-4 will become an important outpost that will allow the Syrian army and the Russian Aerospace Forces to counter the growing ISIS threat in eastern Syria.