US commander predicts weeks more of fighting in “liberated” Mosul
Bill Van Auken
13 July 2017
Gun battles continued to rage and air strikes sent plumes of smoke rising over Iraq’s devastated second largest city Wednesday, more than 36 hours after the country’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, proclaimed victory in the nine-month US-backed siege of Mosul.
The top US commander in the US interventions in Iraq and Syria, Gen. Stephen Townsend, told Pentagon reporters via a video call from Baghdad that fighting in the city could go on for weeks.
“Make no mistake, this victory alone does not eliminate ISIS, and there’s still tough fighting ahead,” Townsend said. “There are still pockets of resistance in Mosul, holdouts, and hidden IEDs that will take weeks to clear.”
He added that there remained “a lot of mopping up and back-clearing to be done.”
These terms are military euphemisms for a continuation of the killing and destruction that has left tens of thousands of civilians in Mosul either dead or wounded and driven over 900,000 from their homes.
There are growing indications that the “mopping up” being carried out by Iraqi security forces and sectarian militias operating with the aid and guidance of US Special Forces “advisers” involves a campaign of revenge assassinations and terror against anyone believed to have collaborated with ISIS during the three years it controlled Mosul, as well as against the families of suspected ISIS members and supporters.
Iraqi security forces have been dragging away men and boys seeking to escape the city. The Washington Post described a “screening station” set up in an old fairground on the eastern bank of the Tigris River where “dozens of men sat in rows last week and waited for judgment.” The…