'Most terrorists will escape Mosul - like they escaped from Ramadi & Fallujah'

'Most terrorists will escape Mosul - like they escaped from Ramadi & Fallujah'
As Iraqi government forces are making significant progress in Mosul, RT spoke to experts and discussed whether retaking Mosul is the decisive moment in the fight against ISIS, and what steps should be taken after it.

Iraqi government forces have taken control of the main bridge in Mosul and advanced towards the mosque where the Islamic State's leader declared his caliphate in 2014.

However, the military is facing fierce terrorist resistance as it advances closer to the city center. Fighting in the densely populated areas has forced almost 100,000 people to flee in the last 19 days.

Chris Nineham, National Officer of the Stop the War Coalition, said retaking Mosul “probably will not” mean defeating ISIS “because we have to look at the big picture.”

“We have to think about where ISIS comes from in the first place. It seems to me that they are actually a product more than anything of the chaos and carnage that has been caused by the war on terror over the last fifteen years in the Middle East generally and specifically in Iraq,” he said.

“And the massive damage to society that has been caused by the occupations, the anger against the West that is built up as a result of the occupations, and also they are a product of the sectarianism that has been built into the whole history of the war on terror,” Nineham added.

Regarding the potential of the Mosul operation to stabilize the situation, Nineham expressed his doubts, saying it “is going to… reinforce the level of chaos and killings. I don’t think that it is as easy as that being a kind of silver bullet, a military solution to the problem. The problem of ISIS runs much deeper.”

'Terrorists escaping Mosul'

Jurgen Todenhofer, is the first Western journalist to be granted access to territories controlled by Islamic State, spent 10 days in ISIS-controlled territory, suggested that “Mosul will be taken, will be conquered. ISIS will lose Mosul, but this doesn’t mean the end of ISIS terrorism.”

“Because most of the terrorists - we think there are now 2,500 ISIS fighting there - will escape like they escaped from Ramadi and Fallujah. It is not very difficult to escape; they escape with refugees, they escape through tunnels. Mosul is still not completely closed, that is completely wrong what we get from the American Pentagon, there are still ways to leave Mosul,” he said.

“I would say a high percentage of the terrorists, the majority of them will escape and they will create a new generation of terrorists. And these terrorists will be very hard because they think that they have survived the biggest battle against the Western countries and Eastern countries, too,” Todenhöfer told RT.

Vanessa Beeley, the independent researcher, and journalist told RT that “in Mosul, there is a complete downplaying of the possibility of a refugee crisis as a result of the US coalition bombing of civilians areas. Again, we see this tremendous hypocrisy.”

“We see the corporate media basically recycling the news that is contained within the echo chamber of government foreign policy in Mosul,” she saidd.

"Yet again we are seeing demonstrated that our media are nothing more than stenographers for our governments," Beeley continued. "They are simply echo chambers that support the narrative of our governments to further their geopolitical agendas in whichever country they are operating in."

According to Beeley, “in Mosul, we don’t have … activists on the ground, we don’t have the White Helmets amplifying the propaganda as it did in Aleppo against the Syrian government and allies efforts to liberate East Aleppo from terrorist occupation. We don’t have any of that in Mosul, and we can only draw the conclusion that this is because the US coalition operation is effectively killing civilians during its process.”

“Somehow, the civilians that are killed under US coalition bombardment are effectively 'collateral damage' whereas of course, the loss of civilian life during the liberation of East Aleppo from terrorist occupation is a war crime. So that very clearly demonstrates the sheer imbalance of the media and the NATO-aligned NGO narrative in both situations,” Beeley said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.