ICC Note: An incredible first hand account of the operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS. CNN correspondent, Arwa Damon, recalls the 28 hours she and a team of Iraqi security forces were trapped inside the battle of Mosul. The operation to end the two year occupation of Iraq’s largest city has slowed now that the coalition has entered the densely populated city. ISIS is using citizens as human shields and engaging in guerilla style warfare. Mosul was once home to an ancient Christian population who were driven from their homes in 2014 with the arrival of ISIS.
Their convoy was leading the operation Friday when it came under attack multiple times.
Vehicles were destroyed, soldiers were hurt. Troops and journalists sought shelter in a succession of houses, calling for backup again and again.
Inside the armored vehicles, hiding with families in houses, Arwa Damon kept notes amid the heat of the battle. Here is her account, with occasional strong language. It has been lightly edited for clarity.
Friday, 9 a.m.
We are in Samah, in the east of Mosul.
Soldiers are spotting suspected ISIS fighters down side roads.
A frantic radio call: “Yellow car to the right.”
“Another two cars on the right — a Kia and a white one,” spots the soldier next to me. He sees a third car and calls it over the radio. “Three cars, disappeared into the side streets.”
The gunfire is all over the place. It’s nonstop. Our MRAP armored vehicle is filled with the smell of gunfire from all the shooting outside.