By Bijan Razzaghi 

Iraqi Special Operations Forces from the Saladin Division unofficially known as the Gold Division have conducted a major operation inside Mosul. The primary objective of the operation was to capture and kill high value ISIL sympathizers and break up terrorist cells that have survived last years battle to retake the city. 

The operation took place in densely populated parts of the city which made it difficult for soldiers to distinguish civilians from militants. As a result Iraqi Special Operations Forces used light vehicles such as Humvee’s and employed less lethal weapons such as Flash Bangs and Stun Grenades. These police style weapons reduce the risk of collateral damage. At the end of the operation several ISIL operatives were captured, IED making matrials confiscated and weapons such as small arms and RPGs were confiscated. 

This operation was particularly important because it helps prevent ISIL from reestablishing a foothold in Mosul. In addition it disrupts ISILs efforts to conduct terrorist attacks im Baghdad and other major Iraq city’s leaving the group without a safe haven.

Currently ISILs presence in Iraq is limited to a low level insurgency which its remaining military presence active in North Western Syria. The insurgent component of ISIL is particularly threatening do to the groups ability to go underground and blind in the the local population. 

It is likely operations such as these will continue for several years to come in order to prevent ISIL or a future group from forming. The Saladin Division will likely continue to be employed due to the units tactical capabilities and police style training.