The attacks were described by Brigadier General Mohammed al-Khodari as traditional ISIS tactics when faced with defeat. “This is in line with tactics we have seen previously in Samarra (and) Anbar”, he said. Khodari explained that when the extremist group “senses defeat somewhere, they counterattack somewhere else to draw away attention and to show that they are still strong.”
The Iraqi forces backed by the US-led air campaign and supported by anti-ISIS armed groups have been able to recapture most of the land occupied by the extremist group.
Fighting is now focused on Mosul, ISIS’s de facto capital, and Khodari claimed that the suicide attacks on Sunday “show that they will soon be defeated in Mosul.”
Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counterterrorism Service (CTS) in Mosul, alleged that “only a small part (of the fighters) remains in the city, specifically the Old City” of Mosul with its narrow alleyways which is not maneuverable by heavy engines.
“From a military perspective, Daesh [ISIL] is finished. It has lost its fighting spirit and its balance. We are making calls to them to surrender or die.”
Iraqi troops have claimed that ISIS now controls less than 2 km2 of Mosul and its last defense will fall in very few days. Lieutenant-General Assadi said the next confrontations will be “the final episode.”
Meanwhile, there are also concerns that the militant groups that are fighting on the sidelines of the Iraqi forces could be entangled in a fight to control cities that have been liberated under ISIS.