Small Wars Journal

Iraqi Forces Breach Mosul City Limits, Heralding a Complex Phase in Campaign

Iraqi Forces Breach Mosul City Limits, Heralding a Complex Phase in Campaign by Tim Arango and Falih Hassan, New York Times

Approaching from the east, and facing Islamic State artillery, snipers and suicide attacks, Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces breached Mosul’s city limits on Tuesday, officers said, the first time government forces have entered the city in more than two years.

The advance was a breakthrough in the more than two-week campaign to reclaim Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL. But a great deal of fighting remains: Even as the counterterrorism forces try to push toward the city center, Iraqi Army soldiers are approaching the city from the south.

The counterterrorism units, which have American training and equipment and work closely with United States military advisers, moved into the Gogjali neighborhood on Tuesday. The area was the first they reached inside the city limits after going village by village for the last two weeks.

Two officers reached by cellphone said that the fighting had been fierce but that they were confident the neighborhood, known for its cattle farming, would be secured soon.

“We are facing tough resistance,” said one special forces officer, Capt. Raad Hussein, as gunfire crackled in the background. “But we will get it.”

The advance into the eastern edge of Mosul heralded a new and more complicated phase - and most likely a more dangerous one for civilians - in a campaign that American military officials say could last months…

Read on.