Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi forces are in intensive efforts to form new elite forces to engage in the battles for the city of Mosul following “significant” losses among its elite personnel, UK-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported.
The quest for making up for the badly-affected force comes in collaboration with the command of the US-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL which has been backing Iraqi government and tribal troops in their battles in eastern Mosul against Islamic State militants, according to the newspaper.
“Battles in Mosul have devastated the Iraqi forces’ elite,” an officer within the elite force told the newspaper, on condition of anonymity. “So, the forces have begun to summon infantry personnel from the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division from al-Mazraa camp east of Fallujah, and sent it to Mosul as per an urgent request from the special forces who have lost most of their troops in the grinding battles against ISIS east of the city.”
The officer blamed human losses to the Counter Terrorism Service to a “precipitous” decision by the international coalition command to engage them into the battles for Mosul districts. He said the move left the elite forces prey to “professionally setup ambushes,” as he put it.
He claimed that in Southern Mosul, federal police forces and SWAT teams have not yet responded to orders to advance towards Mosul airport fearing similar losses. “Iraqi forces have told the international coalition’s command that they will not delve deeper into the city except with the presence of foreign forces and an intensive air cover,” the officer said.
Iraqi government forces, backed by popular militias and a US-led air cover, have been liberating villages in Mosul on an almost daily basis as part of a major operation to free the city that launched in mid October.
Military and police commanders said recently that government forces became in control of nearly 50 percent of the eastern section of Mosul. ISIS remains in control of most of the western region adjacent to the group’s strongholds in Syria, but Iraqi security commanders and militia leaders reportedly managed to cut ISIS’s supply and escape routes to and from Syria.