60 Killed in Iraq as Mosul Battles Commence

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said that Iraqi forces met their goals and are ahead of schedule on the first day of the operations in Mosul. About 30,000 Iraqi troops, Peshmerga members, and Sunni tribal fighters are involved; some of them are women.

Although the operation is expected to take weeks or months, plans are already in the works to handle the humanitarian crisis that will be left after the battles are over. Thousands of Moslawis have already been spotted fleeing the fighting. There are already reports of deaths too.

Shi’ite forces are not expected to enter Mosul due to sectarian concerns; however, that same promise was broken, to tragic ends, in the operation to recover Fallujah. The militiamen are reportedly being sent on to Hawija instead, which is a predominantly Sunni city of 200,000 that has the same sectarian issues.

The redeployment of Shi’ite forces may be to placate Turkey, which has claimed its interest in keeping its soldiers in the Mosul arena is due to sectarian concerns. However, Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan may have other designs on Mosul that date back almost 100 years. 

On Monday, authorities in Anbar say that Shi’ite militiamen kidnapped seven civilians from Garma and looted several properties there.

Kurdish forces, which number about 4,000 participants, quickly retook several villages they were targeting. The illages of Badana Bchuk, Badana Gawre, Baskhra, Bazgirtan, Karbali, Kharaba Sultan, Shaquli, Sheikh Amir, Tarjala, and a tile factory near Hasan Shami are among them. Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani, who is the commander of Peshmerga forces, is reportedly overseeing the operations personally. Troops cleared 200-square km of territory on the first day.

Iraqi army forces liberated the villages of Abbas Rajab, Adla, Ibrahim al-Khalil, Jadida, and Kan Harami.

Coalition planes are bombing positions inside Mosul city limits. At least one strike reportedly targeted Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He slipped away and may be heading toward Syria. Mutineers reportedly captured his wife. Separately, Rayan al-Kildani, the leader of the Babylon Brigade, a Christian militia, expressed his dismay that Coalition planes neglected to target the militant convoys fleeing Mosul towards Syria.

Iraqi forces are fighting in the villages of Hamidat, Houd, and Naifa of near Qayara.

Bashiqa was liberated.

At least 60 people were killed and 51 were wounded:

A suicide car bomber at an army checkpoint in Yusufiya killed 10 people and wounded 17 more. Four soldiers were among the wounded.

Six Peshmerga were killed and 16 were wounded at an undisclosed location.

Five Peshmerga fighters were killed, and at least one other was wounded in Nimrod. The one injured fighter named is the son of the vice president of the Kurdistan region, Kosrat Rasul Ali.

In Kubaiba, a bomb killed five refugees and wounded seven more.

Five civilians were killed and two Peshmerga were wounded when rockets fell on Zammar.

Rockets killed three Peshmerga and wounded four more in Wana.

Near Mosul, two children were killed by a bomb as their families tried to escape.

A pair of bombs in the Hamrin Hills wounded four security personnel.

Video of a suicide bomber attacking Peshmerga troops near Khazar has surfaced, but the number of casualties or when this occurred is unclear.

Civilians killed 16 militants in the villages of Houd and Lazka.

In Zab, security forces killed four militants.

Three suicide bombers were killed near Qayara.

In Mosul, religious police rebelled against Daesh, killing their leader and several aides.

Security forces killed dozens in Hadar.

Militants experienced heavy loses as government troops moved in Hamdaniya.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.