For more than seven months, Iraqi forces have been conducting a major offensive to rout the Islamic State group from Mosul. But the jihadists are putting up fierce resistance against the Iraqi army, which is assisted by coalition forces, including France. FRANCE 24 brings you an exclusive report from our team on the ground, which was able to follow the soldiers during these highly strategic operations.
In a lightning offensive in 2014, Islamic State group jihadists seized large swathes of Iraqi territory to the north and west of Baghdad. Since then, Iraqi security forces have regained ground and according to Iraqi military officials, the terrorists now control only 10 percent of the western part of Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq and the terrorists’ stronghold.
But the battle is extremely difficult. The fanatics are putting up stiff resistance in Mosul’s criss-crossing of narrow streets, which are conducive to urban warfare and difficult for armoured vehicles to enter.
Our reporters Mathieu Mabin and Roméo Langlois followed the coalition forces in Mosul, including the French army. France has sent a whole contingent to give military support to the advancing Iraqi forces and to bomb the positions of the jihadists which are indicated by the Iraqi command.
As our team was able to witness on the ground, the battle to retake Mosul is progressing, but it is laborious - even chaotic. Soldiers are killed by friendly fire, the flow of refugees shows no sign of easing up, and the fate of prisoners is unknown - while reports are circulating of torture, rape and summary executions as many Iraqi soldiers are filled with revenge.
Warning: Graphic content.