Tribal fighters in Mosul to hold ground liberated from ISIL
By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad
Tribal mobilisation units from Ninawa province will be drafted to maintain security in liberated parts of Mosul as part of an agreement between the local government and Iraqi security officials, Iraqi officials tell Diyaruna.
Ninawa's local government expressed its confidence that tribal fighters can be supportive of the security forces in maintaining control and breaking up "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) sleeper cells.
The local government is currently working to prepare tribal mobilisation fighters to support the security forces in east Mosul, Deputy Ninawa Operations Commander Maj. Gen. Karim al-Shuwaili told Diyaruna.
On February 20th, he said, Ninawa governor Nofal Hammadi headed a conference of tribal mobilisation leaders from the province to co-ordinate their work during the next phase and prepare them to hold ground in east Mosul.
The leaders have been instructed to "abide by human rights and freedoms and to respect the beliefs of the people of Mosul with all their sects and ethnicities" as they carry out their new duties, al-Shuwaili said.
Tribal mobilisation fighters are ready to participate in any security operations they are asked to support in Ninawa province, he said.
These might include maintaining security in liberated areas and preventing ISIL infiltration, or taking an active part in the ongoing fight against ISIL, he said.
The Guards of Ninawa, which are part of the overall tribal mobilisation, is fully committed to carrying out the orders and instructions issued by the Iraqi forces, spokesman Zuhair al-Jubouri told Diyaruna.
The Guards have already taken part in the battles to liberate eastern Mosul, he said, but are not taking part in the ongoing operation in the west.
Sound military decisions will contribute to the expeditious liberation of west Mosul, he said, adding that the tribal mobilisation is ready to move in any direction the Iraqi leadership decides.
Deep local knowledge
Members of the tribal mobilisation know their cities and regions better than anyone, said Muzahim al-Huweit, spokesman for the Ninawa tribes.
Additionally, he told Diyaruna, they are already capable of supporting the Iraqi army in maintaining security in the liberated areas and neighbourhoods.
Mosul residents will feel reassured and secure as they see members of the local tribes involved in maintaining security in their city, he said.
Al-Huweit expressed his desire to see tribal mobilisation forces take part in the operation to liberate west Mosul, and underscored their willingness to stand on the front lines in the battle against ISIL.
Tribal forces "are deployed in many villages and small towns in the area around Mosul, but they are still far from the centre of Mosul", he said, with the exception of a few groups that operate under al-Shuweili's command.
Maintaining security in liberated parts of Mosul and consolidating the military gains is a challenge that requires forces that can back up the local police force, al-Huweit said.