What we know about the advance on Mosul

Hi everyone! I'm back with more news and hopefully some insights. (Still safely ensconced in Jordan)
  1. WHY it's important
    Mosul is ISIS/Daesh's largest stronghold in Iraq. It is the second-largest city in Iraq, and sits on major road and river routes connecting Iraq and Syria.
  2. WHO is fighting?
    ISIS maintains control of the city. Iraqi forces (about 45,000 soldiers), along with Kurdish Peshmerga groups, are launching operations this week to retake the city. (Speculated foreign funding/support but Iraqi forces recently claimed "no foreign fighters" in their Mosul operations - will update if this changes.)
  3. WHAT is happening?
    Iraqi forces are launching a comprehensive operation to retake Mosul from ISIS.
  4. WHERE is Mosul?
    Mosul is in northern Iraq, in the Nineveh province (yes, like Jonah & the big fish). It's on the banks of the Tigris river and along a major highway leading to Syria. It is also close to large oil fields (with a pipeline to Turkey) and the Mosul dam, which is the largest dam in Iraq and provides hydroelectric power.
  5. WHEN did this go down?
    ISIS seized the city in June 2014. Iraqi forces have been moving north (retaking key ISIS-held cities such as Ramadi) since late spring / early summer. This official operation began on Sunday, with targeted moves in certain districts expected throughout upcoming weeks.
  6. HOW is fighting going?
    Live-streams and twitter show heavy artillery, but it's still early on. Both sides are claiming that they're maintaining their ground - this will update as events warrant.
  7. WHAT about the civilians?
    (Good question. This is precisely why I want to transition from news to the NGO humanitarian sector.) It looks bad. It's estimated that one million civilians remain in and around Mosul. The UN is estimating at least 200,000 people may try to flee the province in upcoming weeks. Aid organizations are currently scouting locations for temporary camps / ways to safely bring aid and supplies into the region. Will update as events warrant.
  8. Got questions?
    I've got - maybe not answers, but resources and people, and I promise to research & respond with clarification, background, etc. Hit that "suggestions" button and ask away!