Mosul: Meet the groups fighting to take Daesh’s biggest city

Published October 20th, 2016 - 13:05 GMT

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Bashiqa, Iraq – Northeast of Mosul, Peshmerga (military of Iraqi Kurdistan) soldiers plan their attacks against Daesh (ISIS) from their base in mountainous Bashiqa. Surrounded by humvees, trucks, ambulances, and plenty of guns, they are hardly the only fighting force in the area.

The
Turkish military has a base in Bashiqa too, and train anti-Daesh Sunni militias from there. The Mosul offensive as a whole is being led by the Iraqi army, who are backed by the US-led anti-Daesh coalition as well as the Popular Mobilization Units – largely Shia militias supported by Iran.

Clearly, everybody wants a piece of the action that is taking Mosul – Daesh’s biggest city – back from the militant group. Take a look at the various groups fighting Daesh for Mosul.

Adam Lucente

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Iraqi army - The Iraqi army is leading the battle to retake Mosul from Daesh. For them, it’s a sort of payback, as they swiftly lost the city to the group in 2014.
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Image 1 of 11:  1 / 11Iraqi army - The Iraqi army is leading the battle to retake Mosul from Daesh. For them, it’s a sort of payback, as they swiftly lost the city to the group in 2014.

(Source: AFP/File)

Enlarge
Peshmerga - The Peshmerga has said it will not enter Mosul, as they don’t consider it part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But they are helping fight in areas north and east of the city, including here, at a military base in Bashiqa.
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Image 2 of 11:  2 / 11Peshmerga - The Peshmerga has said it will not enter Mosul, as they don’t consider it part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But they are helping fight in areas north and east of the city, including here, at a military base in Bashiqa.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
PMU -The Popular Mobilization Units are fighting Daesh for Mosul in support of the Iraqi army, but many fear their sectarian Shia ideology, and there are allegations they are already abusing Sunni civilians fleeing the city.
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Image 3 of 11:  3 / 11PMU -The Popular Mobilization Units are fighting Daesh for Mosul in support of the Iraqi army, but many fear their sectarian Shia ideology, and there are allegations they are already abusing Sunni civilians fleeing the city.

(Source: AFP/File)

Enlarge
Sunni militias - Sunni militias called al-Hashd al-Watani are participating too, and are backed by Turkey.
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Image 4 of 11:  4 / 11Sunni militias - Sunni militias called al-Hashd al-Watani are participating too, and are backed by Turkey.

(Source: AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Enlarge
Turkey - Speaking of Turkey, they’re also on the ground near Mosul, and have a base in Bashiqa. Iraqi president Haider al-Abadi and other politicians have strongly criticized their presence, but Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained defiant.
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Image 5 of 11:  5 / 11Turkey - Speaking of Turkey, they’re also on the ground near Mosul, and have a base in Bashiqa. Iraqi president Haider al-Abadi and other politicians have strongly criticized their presence, but Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained defiant.

(Source: Turkey)

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Christians - Various Christian paramilitary groups are on frontlines north of Mosul too, and hope to help retake Assyrian villages from Daesh. This soldier in the Nineveh Plain Forces is one of them.
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Image 6 of 11:  6 / 11Christians - Various Christian paramilitary groups are on frontlines north of Mosul too, and hope to help retake Assyrian villages from Daesh. This soldier in the Nineveh Plain Forces is one of them.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
US - As the leader of the anti-Daesh coalition Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the US has troops on the ground near Mosul, and is also providing air support to the mission.
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Image 7 of 11:  7 / 11US - As the leader of the anti-Daesh coalition Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the US has troops on the ground near Mosul, and is also providing air support to the mission.

(Source: AFP/File)

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UK - The US isn’t the only Western nation in the area. The UK is reported to have special forces near Mosul.
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Image 8 of 11:  8 / 11UK - The US isn’t the only Western nation in the area. The UK is reported to have special forces near Mosul.

(Source: YouTube)

Enlarge
France - France likewise sent special forces to the Mosul area, and two were injured by a Daesh drone earlier this month.
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Image 9 of 11:  9 / 11France - France likewise sent special forces to the Mosul area, and two were injured by a Daesh drone earlier this month.

(Source: AFP/Valery Hache)

Enlarge
Foreign volunteers - Speaking of the West, some Westerners didn’t want to wait and see if their nations would send troops to fight Daesh and Mosul and volunteered to join the Peshmerga. Some serve near Mosul, including Bashiqa. Others are in Peshmerga units near Kirkuk, or in Christian groups like Dwekh Nawsha, shown here north of Mosul.
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Image 10 of 11:  10 / 11Foreign volunteers - Speaking of the West, some Westerners didn’t want to wait and see if their nations would send troops to fight Daesh and Mosul and volunteered to join the Peshmerga. Some serve near Mosul, including Bashiqa. Others are in Peshmerga units near Kirkuk, or in Christian groups like Dwekh Nawsha, shown here north of Mosul.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge
Black smoke in the distance from the Bashiqa base. Daesh created fires to distract coalition jets launching airstrikes at their positions. Daesh’s days may be numbered in Mosul, but whether their defeat will bring Iraq’s long sought stability to fruition remains to be seen.
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Image 11 of 11:  11 / 11Black smoke in the distance from the Bashiqa base. Daesh created fires to distract coalition jets launching airstrikes at their positions. Daesh’s days may be numbered in Mosul, but whether their defeat will bring Iraq’s long sought stability to fruition remains to be seen.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

Enlarge

1

Iraqi army - The Iraqi army is leading the battle to retake Mosul from Daesh. For them, it’s a sort of payback, as they swiftly lost the city to the group in 2014.

Image 1 of 11Iraqi army - The Iraqi army is leading the battle to retake Mosul from Daesh. For them, it’s a sort of payback, as they swiftly lost the city to the group in 2014.

(Source: AFP/File)

2

Peshmerga - The Peshmerga has said it will not enter Mosul, as they don’t consider it part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But they are helping fight in areas north and east of the city, including here, at a military base in Bashiqa.

Image 2 of 11Peshmerga - The Peshmerga has said it will not enter Mosul, as they don’t consider it part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But they are helping fight in areas north and east of the city, including here, at a military base in Bashiqa.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

3

PMU -The Popular Mobilization Units are fighting Daesh for Mosul in support of the Iraqi army, but many fear their sectarian Shia ideology, and there are allegations they are already abusing Sunni civilians fleeing the city.

Image 3 of 11PMU -The Popular Mobilization Units are fighting Daesh for Mosul in support of the Iraqi army, but many fear their sectarian Shia ideology, and there are allegations they are already abusing Sunni civilians fleeing the city.

(Source: AFP/File)

4

Sunni militias - Sunni militias called al-Hashd al-Watani are participating too, and are backed by Turkey.

Image 4 of 11Sunni militias - Sunni militias called al-Hashd al-Watani are participating too, and are backed by Turkey.

(Source: AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

5

Turkey - Speaking of Turkey, they’re also on the ground near Mosul, and have a base in Bashiqa. Iraqi president Haider al-Abadi and other politicians have strongly criticized their presence, but Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained defiant.

Image 5 of 11Turkey - Speaking of Turkey, they’re also on the ground near Mosul, and have a base in Bashiqa. Iraqi president Haider al-Abadi and other politicians have strongly criticized their presence, but Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained defiant.

(Source: Turkey)

6

Christians - Various Christian paramilitary groups are on frontlines north of Mosul too, and hope to help retake Assyrian villages from Daesh. This soldier in the Nineveh Plain Forces is one of them.

Image 6 of 11Christians - Various Christian paramilitary groups are on frontlines north of Mosul too, and hope to help retake Assyrian villages from Daesh. This soldier in the Nineveh Plain Forces is one of them.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

7

US - As the leader of the anti-Daesh coalition Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the US has troops on the ground near Mosul, and is also providing air support to the mission.

Image 7 of 11US - As the leader of the anti-Daesh coalition Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the US has troops on the ground near Mosul, and is also providing air support to the mission.

(Source: AFP/File)

8

UK - The US isn’t the only Western nation in the area. The UK is reported to have special forces near Mosul.

Image 8 of 11UK - The US isn’t the only Western nation in the area. The UK is reported to have special forces near Mosul.

(Source: YouTube)

9

France - France likewise sent special forces to the Mosul area, and two were injured by a Daesh drone earlier this month.

Image 9 of 11France - France likewise sent special forces to the Mosul area, and two were injured by a Daesh drone earlier this month.

(Source: AFP/Valery Hache)

10

Foreign volunteers - Speaking of the West, some Westerners didn’t want to wait and see if their nations would send troops to fight Daesh and Mosul and volunteered to join the Peshmerga. Some serve near Mosul, including Bashiqa. Others are in Peshmerga units near Kirkuk, or in Christian groups like Dwekh Nawsha, shown here north of Mosul.

Image 10 of 11Foreign volunteers - Speaking of the West, some Westerners didn’t want to wait and see if their nations would send troops to fight Daesh and Mosul and volunteered to join the Peshmerga. Some serve near Mosul, including Bashiqa. Others are in Peshmerga units near Kirkuk, or in Christian groups like Dwekh Nawsha, shown here north of Mosul.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

11

Black smoke in the distance from the Bashiqa base. Daesh created fires to distract coalition jets launching airstrikes at their positions. Daesh’s days may be numbered in Mosul, but whether their defeat will bring Iraq’s long sought stability to fruition remains to be seen.

Image 11 of 11Black smoke in the distance from the Bashiqa base. Daesh created fires to distract coalition jets launching airstrikes at their positions. Daesh’s days may be numbered in Mosul, but whether their defeat will bring Iraq’s long sought stability to fruition remains to be seen.

(Source: Al Bawaba/Adam Lucente)

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