The amount of territory in Iraq and Syria controlled by one of the world’s most radical jihadist groups is stunning, and yet the media barely covers it.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham seized control of Mosul, the provincial capital of Ninewa and Iraq’s second largest city, after five days of heavy fighting with Iraqi forces. Mosul is the second major city to fall to the former al Qaeda affiliate.
Fighters from the ISIS took control of government buildings, including the provincial headquarters, as well as police stations and military installations inside and outside of the city, according to reports. Several police stations were torched by the ISIS. Some Iraqi soldiers and policemen are said to have shed their uniforms before fleeing their posts to avoid being captured and executed by ISIS fighters.
The ISIS has raised the black flag of jihad and “announced over loudspeaker that they had ‘come to liberate Mosul and would fight only those who attack them,'” the BBC reported.
Usamah al Nujayfi, the speaker of Iraq’s Council of Representatives whose brother is the governor of Ninewa, told Al Baghdadiyah Satellite Television that “the right and left sides of the city of Mosul as well as its districts and subdistricts have been completely occupied.”
Nujayfi also accused Iraqi security forces of abandoning their posts and leaving weapons, ammunition, and armored vehicles behind.
“When the battle intensified inside the city of Mosul, these forces gave up their weapons and the commanders fled, leaving behind arms, armored vehicles, and locations for the terrorists,” Nujayfi continued. “Mosul Airport and some aircrafts and command locations have fallen, not to mention arms warehouses. Prisons have been taken and the prisoners have been released.” Some reports indicate that hundreds of prisoners have been freed. […]
The ISIS began its assault on Mosul five days ago, when hundreds of fighters entered the city in pickup trucks and attacked government installations and security forces. ISIS fighters took control of several neighborhoods, but the military claimed that it beat back the jihadists and killed 105 fighters as they retreated. Yet the military said that 10 percent of Mosul remained under ISIS control. Eighteen security personnel were reported killed on the first day of fighting.
Mosul is the second major city to fall completely under the control of the ISIS this year. At the beginning of January, the ISIS and allied tribal group seized Fallujah, the second largest city in Anbar province.
ISIS’ self-declared “Islamic Emirate” stretching across Syria and Iraq:
Update: ISIS on the move.