Mosul Western Offensive
Feb 15, 2017
Overview Current reports see the Western offensive for Mosul starting on February 18th or shortly thereafter.
Considering the upcoming offensive, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory recommending the Global Media Risk basic information pack to assist media crews and freelancers on the ground stay safe and gain the necessary access.
City of Erbil is the best place to be located for the following reasons:
• In case of emergencies Erbil has an international airport and international standard hospitals.
• You can more easily access Eastern Mosul from Erbil, and cover the fighting from the east, which is considerably more secure than covering it from the north or south.
• Secure accommodation is more readily available in Erbil.
• Most fixers are based in Erbil
• If you have a security contract with Global Media Risk or another security provider, that security and QRF capability will be based in Erbil.
Embedding is not impossible, if you have the right contacts, but it is thought that fewer media organizations will do this.
It is thought that most journalists will cover the western push from the east, with freelance journalists going closer to the action in the South and West.
The earliest you can get to Mosul from Erbil is 1000hrs as the Peshmerga checkpoints on Mosul Road don’t open until approximately 0830hrs.
You will need a fixer to gain a pass to gain access through Peshmerga checkpoints en-route to Mosul.
There are houses available for rent just off the Mosul Road towards a village called Basakrah. Many of the ISOF senior officers are based out of that location and with the right connections you will be able to secure accommodation to deploy to Mosul from, which will bypass the majority of the Peshmerga and ISF checkpoints.
Safety we strongly recommend the use of a vetted fixer, security, and B6 armored vehicles.
East Mosul is by no means cleared and there are still IS cells operating in Eastern Mosul. In the last week SVIEDS, VBIEDS, and IS drones have killed a number of civilians in East Mosul. We recommend covering the Western offensive from Eastern Mosul as the Tigris acts as a physical barrier against most the VBIEDs (the largest threat to ISF) that are being used in West Mosul.
If a crew decides to cover the offensive as an embed or needs to be closer to the action, then we recommend covering from the South with ISOF or from the Western Side with the Iraq Federal Police. Obviously, some smaller media agencies and freelancers will not be able to afford the costs of local security and B6 vehicles. It is paramount for these crews that an emergency action plan and safety SOPs is created and adhered to.
PPE such as body armour and helmets are recommended. HEAT or HEFAT refresher training would be ideal prior to deploying.
Access the five main bridges into Mosul are blown however it is believed that the ISF will construct a large pontoon bridge to the South. The current access across the Tigris into West and South Mosul is via a pontoon bridge in Qayyarah.
Developments in last 24 hours Mosul North AO: There were no SIGACTS noted during this reporting period.
Mosul East AO: C-T forces killed a group of 42 terrorists who crossed the Tigris River into the Al-Maliya district in east Mosul. IS IDF on a market in the Zahra district killed 12 civilians and wounded 33 more.
Mosul South AO: Three Coalition airstrikes in the Mosul area engaged two IS tactical units; destroyed four watercrafts, three front-end loaders, and a mortar system; damaged nine supply routes; and suppressed eight IS mortar teams. The IS evacuated many of its command posts in west Mosul due to the presence of many Coalition aircraft over Mosul.
Mosul West AO: The IS has launched attacks on the PMF positions from the east (Tal Afar) and from the west (Al-Baaj). Iraqi airstrikes near the villages of Ain Al-Husan and South Sharia destroyed 15 IS vehicles and a rocket launcher and killed 60 terrorists. The PMF cleared the village North of Sharia and killed 40 terrorists and destroyed two armoured vehicles. The 18th PMF Brigade repelled an IS attack near Al-Hajaf south of Tal Abta, destroying three SVBIEDs. Airstrikes destroyed another three SVBIEDs attempting to attack PMF positions.
Global Media Risk provides on the ground security advisers, training, secure accommodation, PPE, local security forces, QRF capabilities, vehicles, and fixers.