IRAQ

ISIS Supporters Show Signs Of Despair Over Mosul

"Mosul was left alone to fight a coalition of 68 countries," the group's fanboys say

IRAQ
Mar 13, 2017 at 1:20 PM ET

As long as it has taken, the U.S.-backed Iraqi push into the city of Mosul is finally gaining traction, to the dismay of supporters of the Islamic State. The terror group’s followers have been tracking reports online, commiserating with each other over the major losses in what was once the group’s main stronghold in Iraq. On Telegram and in online forums, ISIS supporters try to console each other, calling for everyone to “endure the catastrophe.”

Posts on Telegram channels affiliated with ISIS and threads on the group’s al-Minbar forum indicate that the group’s supporters are well informed of developments on the ground and are not relying on reports from official ISIS media channels. As in the past during the battles for Fallujah and Ramadi, the channels are filled with calls for supporters to pray for the fighters. An ISIS channel on Telegram called “the soldiers of Mosul” urged followers “to endure the catastrophe as Allah said that with every difficulty there is a relief. The battle will be decided by Allah.” Others called for people to “pray for your brothers in Mosul” and that “those who are waiting for the Mujahedeen’s calls to pray for them don’t know what it means to be a real supporter.”

Other posts tried to reason out the group’s expected losses in the city, saying that those in “Mosul were left alone to fight a coalition of 68 countries, including all the world’s powers that spared no effort and used every weapon they could, except for nuclear bombs.” One claimed “what happens in Mosul is unprecedented in history. The fighters didn’t lack faith and sacrifice but lacked in the number of fighters and munitions, the same case as in the other cities and provinces that fell into the hands of the infidels.”

A post on ISIS’ al-Minbar forum said the latest losses of ISIS, including battles inside Mosul “and the retreat from other cities caused us to fear. The fear is normal especially for the supporters who follow the events from afar.” The post criticized the group’s supporters “who want a quick and decisive battle where the enemy will be defeated” and called to be patient as “we are in a long, long campaign.” The post told supporters to abandon “fear, concern and stress” amid the reports and that those who live under ISIS to “live their normal life, they buy and sell, eat and sleep.”

The Iraqi army, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, has reclaimed around 30 percent of west Mosul from ISIS, local Iraqi senior commanders have told Reuters. Working alongside Kurdish Peshmerga and Iranian-backed militias, the government of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi managed to liberate the eastern half of Mosul in January, and the city’s government complex just recently. The official campaign to take back Mosul began in October last year. It is said to be the biggest military offensive in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.