Islamic State fighters are presenting with obviously fake injuries to avoid combat on the front lines in Mosul, captured documents by the Iraqi Security Forces reveal.
Foreign fighters appear to be the most aggrieved with the brutal conditions in the fight against Mosul, and most creative in excuses. One document reveals a Belgian militant went out of his way to find a doctor in Mosul to write him a note excusing him from battle because of debilitating back pain.
One commander noted one of his French Algerian fighters “doesn’t want to fight, wants to return to France.” He continued, “Claims his will is martyrdom operation in France. Claims sick but doesn’t have a medical report.” Another fighter from Kosovo said he had a headache, and requested a transfer to Syria to fight.
The U.S.-backed Iraqi Security Force’s are enclosing on western Mosul, in what has become a grueling months-long operation with thousands dead on both sides. The Iraqi forces have taken to leaving the rotting corpses of ISIS fighters in the middle of the street as a grisly reminder of what awaits the surviving ones. “We leave them in the street like that so the dogs eat them,” one Iraqi soldier told Reuters. He continued, “we also want the citizens to know there is a price for supporting terrorists.”
The operation to retake Mosul launched in October 2016, but continues to drag on. It took until January 2017 just to retake the eastern half of the city, and brutal block-by-block fighting continues in the west. There are nearly 750,000 civilians who remain inside the western half of Mosul, and ISIS frequently uses them as human shields.
“If there were no civilians, we’d just burn it all,” an Iraqi counter-terrorism commander told The Washington Post of the Mosul battle in November. He said ISIS floods the streets with civilians when his forces enter, stopping the deployment of heavy munitions. “I couldn’t bomb with artillery or tanks, or heavy weapons. I said, ‘We can’t do anything,” he lamented.
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