Operation to Retake Mosul from Islamic State Delayed Due to Weather

Iraqi soldiers hold a position on the outskirts of Makhmur, about 280 kilometres (175 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, on March 26, 2016, during a military operation to recapture Nineveh province and its capital Mosul from Islamic State group jihadists . Iraq's army and pro-government forces launched an offensive …

Iraqi army troops, due to bad weather conditions, were forced to suspend their offensive to seize back Mosul, northern Iraq’s largest second city that was conquered by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) last year, according to the Iraqi peshmerga forces commander.

Anadolu Agency learned from Ziryar Vesani, the peshmerga commander of the front in Mosul’s Mahmur district, that “the Iraqi army’s offensive in the surroundings of the village of Nesir, south of Mosul had ceased.”

“He said any kind of attack on Daesh [Arabic name for ISIS] for the moment was out of question due to the rainy weather,” continues Anadolu.

The Iraqi army has already seized three villages from ISIS in Mahmur district.

Vesani said that the Iraqi army had taken the control of “three villages from Daesh militants” in the district of Mahmur.

“Eight soldiers were killed and over 20 injured in clashes between Iraqi soldiers and militants,” he declared.

Last Thursday, the Iraqi Defense Ministry announced that it had launched a much expected offensive to reconquering Mosul, which was captured by ISIS jihadists in mid-2014.

“The Iraqi army and Sunni forces have been attacking Mosul’s Mahmur districts from three directions, while peshmerga forces had a supportive role and reportedly refrained from combating,” notes Anadolu.

An estimated 500 civilians fled the ISIS-controlled region and sought refuge near the peshmerga fighters’ positions.

Late last week, the U.S.-backed Iraqi military launched an offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIS.

An operation to retake Mosul has been in the works for months. An estimated two million lived in the city before ISIS took over in July 2014.

The Iraqi Mosul offensive is reportedly backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish peshmerga troops, and a Shiite-controlled paramilitary force.

As the U.S. Marines expanded their role in the efforts to retake Mosul, the Iraqi army was struggling to close in on the northern Iraqi city.

The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) peshmerga forces accused the Iraqi army of being “too weak” to take Mosul.

Referring to the “Hashd,” which is Arabic for “mobilization” and refers to the Shiite militias in Iraq, Kurdish news outlet Kurdish news outlet NRT TV quotes Noful al-Agoub, the governor of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province where the offensive is taken place, as saying:

American land troops did not take part in the offensive, but air support and air strikes against Daesh [Arabic name for ISIS] by the [U.S.-led] coalition have helped control the situation on the ground and facilitate the entry of Hashd forces and troops of the 15th [Iraqi army] division.

Many “Hashd” militias are backed by Iran.