- Title: Iraqi Kurdish official warns of tough resistance from IS ahead
- Date: 6th November 2016
- Summary: PICTURE OF MUSTAFA BARZANI, MASROUR'S GRANDFATHER, ON THE WALL
- Embargoed: 21st November 2016 17:13
- Keywords: Islamic State Iraq Mosul coalition fighting Kurdish
- Location: SALAHUDDIN, IRAQ
- City: SALAHUDDIN, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00257B3LTZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraqi forces are expected to face much fiercer resistance from Islamic State in the next phase of the battle for Mosul, including booby traps that can blow up entire neighborhoods, top Kurdish security official Masrour Barzani, said on Sunday (November 6).
The head of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Security Council said Iraqi forces have made quick progress clearing out Islamic State fighters from eastern Mosul after Kurdish peshmerga units broke through its first lines of defense.
So far in the three-week operation, Islamic State has deployed drones strapped with explosives, long-range artillery shells filled with chlorine and mustard gas and highly effective snipers, Barzani said. Kurdish forces have destroyed more than 50 car bombs.
He cautioned that western Mosul will be a more complex campaign, with a vast number of narrow streets that can't accommodate large military vehicles and an enemy that will fight to the death to defend the capital of its so-called caliphate.
Even if Islamic State is driven out of its main stronghold Mosul, that will not be enough, he said.
Barzani said security personnel were unsure about the location of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
"He has been surrounded by good advisors, people with military and intelligence backgrounds," he said. "They do have some knowledge of how to protect themselves and hide."
The Mosul campaign is the most critical land battle in Iraq since a U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Iraqi leaders are also under pressure to ensure that the offensive does not inflame sectarian tensions in predominantly Sunni Mosul and in the country as a whole.
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