Foreign Isis Fighters Defend East Mosul

by | Nov 4, 2016

Foreign Isis Fighters Defend East Mosul

by | Nov 4, 2016

Foreign fighters for Isis are choosing to stand and fight the Iraqi army in east Mosul, while the group’s local militants are crossing the Tigris river with their families to the more defensible western side of the city, a former jihadi has told The Independent.

In an exclusive interview, the fighter, who calls himself Faraj, described scenes of growing chaos and an apparent breakdown of discipline among Isis forces in Mosul. He said that local fighters seeking to leave the east of the city, which Iraqi forces entered on Tuesday, were being stopped at checkpoints and cross-questioned by Isis security officers, whom he said were mostly Libyans and much feared for inflicting severe punishments. On this occasion, he said that “fighters accompanied by families are being allowed to cross the bridges to the west bank, while individuals are being sent back to the front line”.

Faraj said he had a cousin who left Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria, four months ago and had gone with his family to live in east Mosul. His cousin was not fighting on the front line, but was manning checkpoints and carrying out other activities for Isis. Nevertheless, when the Iraqi army entered Gogjali district on the extreme east side of Mosul, he found himself at the front with 15 other fighters, but they later retreated over one of the five bridges that span the Tigris and took up positions in the Yarmouk neighborhood on the west bank.

Read the rest at the Independent.

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn is an award-winning writer on The Independent who specialises in analysis of Iraq, Syria and wars in the Middle East. In 2014 he forecast the rise of Isis before it was well known, and has written extensively about it and other players in the region. He was born in Cork in 1950, went to school there and in Scotland, took his first degree at Trinity College, Oxford and did graduate work at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queens University Belfast before shifting to journalism in 1978. He joined the Financial Times, covering the Middle East, and was later Moscow correspondent. He joined The Independent in 1990, reporting on the First Gulf War from Baghdad, and has written largely on the Middle East ever since.

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