Tack on another mini-Friedman unit in Mosul. Iraqi forces slow effort to retake old city due to the difficulty of protecting civilians.
“We are fighting a very difficult battle,” Iraqi Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri told VOA. “It will take at least another month before we liberate the Old City because IS is using civilians as human shields.” Al-Jubouri said his forces halted their offensive temporarily to open new safe passage routes for civilians fleeing their homes to cross government lines.IS is shooting people who try to escape. Bodies litter the ground near the front lines.
Iranian-backed militia takes the town of Baaj near the Syrian border.
Dozens of civilians found in underground prison in western Mosul. The captives appear to be largely from cities in Anbar that were recaptured by Iraqi forces some time ago.
Speaking of which, the city of Fallujah has received little support from the Baghdad government and has depended on international assistance for such rebuilding as it has accomplished.
In Afghanistan, continued violence and political chaos following the massive truck bombing on Wednesday. On Friday, police shot dead 5 protesters demanding improved security, and on Saturday attackers killed 20 people at the funeral of a senator's son who was among the dead protesters.
His party, Jamiat-e-Islami, holds an emergency meeting and appears to hold the government responsible. [This is a largely Tajik Islamist party, which includes Abdullah Abdullah among its adherents. The implication is that this incident reflects the antagonism between Abdullah and president Ghani. In other words the National Unity Government may be in peril. -- C)