first published on January 14, 2017 by Will
Mosul’s al-Salam hospital is now controlled by Iraqi forces, but at great cost. On 6 December 2016, the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division, a mechanized armor unit, got overconfident and pushed a little too far into ISIS-held territory on the east bank of the Tigris river.
With little or no infantry support, the armored vehicle crews found themselves surround in an urban environment, completely defenseless against the enemies’ elevated positions. Several vehicles were destroyed and dozens of Iraqi troops were killed and wounded. The following video, filmed by Islamic State fighters, documents the worst setback in the Mosul battle to date.
After the failed assault, the 9th Division was pulled back, and a new operation was launched to take the hospital, which relied on considerably more coalition air support. Over the last month, the complex received 25 airstrikes, which has all but destroyed the hospital. Infantry, rather than mechanized forces, were sent in to clear the area, and they succeeded.
Initially, the Western Coalition was wary of bombing the hospital for fear that it was still operating as such. However, after retaking the complex, Iraqi forces discovered the building was being used solely as an ISIS command center with no sign of civilian activity.