The Iraqi Security Forces proceeded with operations to liberate the city of Mosul from the Islamic State despite continuous chemical weapons attacks, Colonel Pat Work, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, told reporters on Tuesday.
From December 2016 to September 2017, some 2,000 Falcon Brigade Paratroopers deployed to Iraq and Syria in support of the Operation Inherent Resolve. The brigade, led by Work, supported the liberation of Mosul and Tal Afar.
Work recalled that from the middle of April to the first week of May, ISIS was trying to defend the northern portions of the old city district and deployed low-grade chemicals against the advancing ISF.
“Because of their indiscriminate nature, and because of those poorly trained mortarmen of ISIS, or the poorly trained fighters of ISIS, who tried to deliver these munitions, they also exposed…civilians to this harm,” the commander said. He noted that ISIS fired munitions into city blocks “wracking up entire homes to explode with them.”
Work added that the ISF continued with the operation despite the use of chemicals.
“In fact, the Iraqi Security Forces were relatively unphased by it. They immediately evacuated those who were affected, sometimes sending them all the way back to Baghdad for more definitive care, but they continued to attack,” he said. “ISIS demonstrated this evil capacity for about two and a half weeks, and then it has dwindled.”
The battle of Mosul lasted from October 2016 to July 2017. It has become the largest military operation in some 15 years.