The US-backed military operation against ISIS terrorists in the Iraqi city of Mosul is approaching its final phase.
Iraqi security forces (ISF), backed up by US-led coalition warplanes, attack helicopters, and special operation forces, have made significant progress against ISIS terrorists in the northern and southern parts of western Mosul, out-flanking the Old Mosul area and nearby neighborhoods which remain strongholds of ISIS terrorists in the city.
The ISF advance in western Mosul is on-going amid heavy clashes with ISIS terrorists who actively use suicide bombers and snipers. At the same time, experts note a lower frequency of the usage of suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) by ISIS in comparison to the early stages of the battle for Mosul. This means that the terrorist group is suffering from a lack of explosives and vehicles which could be used for creating SVBIEDs. This, as well as the shortage of weapons and ammunition, predetermines the results of the battle.
However, the current progress of ISF, actively backed up by the US-led coalition, shows that ISIS is still capable of defending its positions in heavy urbanized areas. The terrorist group has a motivated infantry. Furthermore, ISIS members actively use the favorable environment of western Mosul.
Meanwhile, ISIS has increased guerilla activity in Syria and Iraq. Earlier this month, 5 ISIS suicide bombers attacked the Kiwan military base operated by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the US military in Iraq. The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claimed that the base was being used by US forces to oversee landing operations against important ISIS sites or commanders in Syria and Iraq. Amaq claimed that ISIS members managed to destroy two Humvee vehicles during the attack after infiltrating the base. One of the attackers blew himself up at the entrance to the base. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up along with some Peshmerga forces inside the base. Amaq argued that the clashes continued for two hours ending with the killing of all the attackers.
Earlier, another group of ISIS suicide bombers attacked several positions inside the Syrian city of Hasaka, controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces.
The collapse of ISIS as a terrorist state in the territory of Syria and Iraq will push the terrorist group to revise its Middle East strategy. It will likely halt attempts to keep formal control over villages and towns and focus on guerilla warfare and terrorist attacks against military and civilian targets.