The assault in Mosul rages on. As Iraqi forces maneuver their way into the city, fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have other things in mind.
While it is inevitable that civilian casualties will mount, it is another story when innocent lives are thrown into the middle just so the extremist organization maintains control of the city. ISIS is preparing to institute a road block that will put numerous lives in harm's way.
With the attacks intensifying, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's group is strategizing a defensive perimeter involving around 25,000 people inside Mosul. These individuals will be used as protective shields against incoming Iraqi and US-led coalition troops.
According to Ravina Shamdasani, a UN spokesperson, members of the Islamic State (IS) are taking with them thousands of men, women, and children on trucks and buses. Part of the population is being relocated to Mosul's southern location of Hammam Al-Alil.
Although the transportation process has to be halted due to the threat of allied aircraft, the mobilization has persisted in order to protect ISIS interests and properties that include military bases.
Meanwhile, during the weekend, the extremist faction has executed about 40 former police officers. The bodies are then thrown into the Tigris River. The move is intended to serve as a warning against any form of uprising within the ISIS territories.
Teams from the Elite Counterterrorism Service have fought their way into the city. It is the first time since 2014 that Iraqi forces have set foot in Iraq's second largest urban area. Two years ago, the nation's military has been humiliated and driven out by invading ISIS fighters.
According to Major General Sami Al-Aridi of the US-trained Iraqi Special Forces, the group has penetrated Gogjali which is a community proximal to Mosul's administrative units. By noon, the troops are within striking distance of the Karama district.
He adds that defensive structures like concrete walls are being used by ISIS to repel the advancement of government soldiers. The road to the city has also been rigged with landmines.
In response to Iraqi tank and artillery campaign, which is backed by Coalition airstrikes, ISIS has covered their positions in smoke to blanket targets. Anti-tank missiles are also being used by fighters to repulse the invading Iraqi forces.
It is estimated that around 4,000 extremist personnel are positioned inside a vast tunnel system. Roads and bridges have been laced with bombs while suicide bombers are on hand to set an ambush which will decelerate advancing Iraqi soldiers.
As of the moment, Iraqi forces are still about 10 kilometers out of the urban center.