Islamic State deploys hundreds of foreign fighters in defense of Mosul and adjacent towns

By Abbas al-Baghdadi

Azzaman, January 11, 2015

Islamic State’s military leaders are pursuing fresh media and war tactics in a bid to raise morale and strengthen positions in areas under its control in the northern and western parts of Iraq.

The parliamentary Defense and Security Commission says the group’s hold of the city of Mosul, Iraq’ second largest, has not been shaken despite hundreds of raids by U.S. and allied warplanes.

But the commission claimed the raids were causing trouble for the jihadist organization and some have targeted its senior leaders in the area.

Kurdish and Iraqi forces have made some advances by retaking certain villages and driving the militants further back.

However, the commission says, the group was still ready to fight.

It said the group was resorting to carefully planned media campaigns in which it announces the killing of its leaders and sends them in hiding to keep them away from possible attack by U.S. warplanes.

The commission said hundreds of foreign fighters mostly from Chechnya were sent recently to Mosul to weather attacks on its suburbs by Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

The Kurds have retaken Sinjar, a stronghold of the Yazidi minority whose members had fled to the nearby mountains when the group invaded the town and took hundreds of women and men captive.

The commission said Yazidi women and men who refused to convert to Islam were jailed in prisons inside Mosul.

Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi terrorism expert, confirmed reports that Islamic State was fortifying its positions in Mosul but denied reports of the group executing scores of its senior commanders and fighters following the recapture of Sinjar by Kurdish fighters.

He said the group was adopting new military tactics in the face of heavy U.S. aerial bombing by dividing its forces into smaller contingents and refurbishing its ammunition depots.

Hashemi said the group had three types of ammunition depots and was relying in fighting mainly on suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices as well as medium and light weapons, with snipers playing a pivotal role.