The Iraqi army and its partners on the ground continue to advance on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the last ISIS stronghold in the country.
In support of that advance, the US-led coalition of more than 60 countries has mounted airstrikes on ISIS facilities, personnel, and infrastructure in northern Iraq since the operation against Mosul kicked off on October 16.
In the clip below, an October 27 airstrike wipes about a facility producing the weapon ISIS has come to rely on and be known for: vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, VBIEDs.
Iraqi forces, fighting alongside Kurdish peshmerga and Shiite militias, have made considerable progress in the month since their operation to retake Mosul started.
ISIS resistance has stiffened as the fighting has reached the outskirts of the city itself. Amid the fighting, the terror group has made heavy use of VBIEDs.
A little over a week after the October 27 strike, a coalition airstrike took out another VBIED facility about 50 miles west of Mosul. During fighting in eastern Mosul one day in mid-November, ISIS deployed at least 10 car bombs against Iraqi forces. US forces reported taking out at least three such car bombs on November 16.
The terrorist group has come to rely on car bombs for both their power to intimidate as well as to to overcome the defenses of their opponents.
“It’s reminiscent of a Mad Max vehicle, with armored plating in the front to protect the driver until he can detonate the explosives he’s carrying on board,” Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a Pentagon briefing on November 16.
The ongoing fighting in and around Mosul also poses risks to the area’s civilian population, about a million of whom are thought to be in and around Mosul during the fighting.
UN officials said on November 19 that civilian causalities from fighting between ISIS and Iraqi forces in Mosul were overwhelming government and international aid groups in the area, and that such casualities were likely to increase.
“We are very worried that more and more civilians will be hurt and victimized as the campaign intensifies,” said Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, according to Reuters. “Civilians are not being caught in cross-fire, they are being targeted.”
Civilians in Iraq have also been killed by operations supporting the Iraqi campaign against ISIS. The US government said in early November that 39 civilians had been killed in 13 strikes since March this year.