Mosul- As Iraqi forces and ISIS fight in a fierce urban warfare in Mosul, the leaders of Iraq are discussing the possibility of changing their strategy to help the more than one million civilians flee the city and give the army a free hand to strike the jihadists.
The proposal, a sign of frustration at slow progress in the six-week campaign against ISIS in Mosul, was ultimately dismissed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his generals, military sources told Reuters in interviews.
Abadi and his advisers feared that fleeing residents could be massacred by the militants who still control three-quarters of the city, and that authorities and aid agencies were in no position to handle a mass exodus.
According to Reuters, the military sources and a government official stated there are increasing fears that Iraqi forces might get drifted to a war of attrition in Mosul.
The military campaign to regain control over Mosul is considered the biggest land operation in Iraq in more than ten years and includes a coalition of around 100,000 fighters against thousands of extremists.
A report published by Reuters showed that the battle is expected to continue until next year—this actually jeopardizes the city with a genuine humanitarian crisis during the winter not to mention the enormous losses in the army.
Iraqi leaders reported that, at least, one thousand fighters of ISIS were killed in the attempt to force out the organization from the city. Also, the Iraqi army disclosed that the Mosul battle has represented the toughest challenge throughout the past two years.
John Dorian, an air force colonel and a spokesperson of the coalition supporting Iraqi troops, announced his support to the Iraqi government in protecting civilians, adding the battle has become harder.