Reporter Ayman Oghanna joined a unit of the Iraqi special forces as they advanced on Mosul. He tells the story of the men who reclaimed the city.
Browse content similar to The Men Who Fought for Mosul. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
The funeral has taken place
in Slovakia of the murdered
journalist, Jan Kuciak.
Hundreds of mourners
attended the ceremony -
a day after the burial
of his fiancee who was shot dead
at the same time.
Now on BBC News our reporter
Ayman Oghanna joins a unit
of the Iraqi special forces
as they advanced on Mosul.
He tells the story of the men
who reclaimed the city.
The fight to retake Mosul. One of
the largest urban conflicts since
the Second World War. And the
frontline in the battle the
so-called Islamic State. I was given
rare access to an elite unit of
Iraq's special forces. The first
team into Mosul. We're just getting
ready to set up a base, and suddenly
we being fired upon by Isis. These
are the men who reunited Iraq and
liberated Mosul. But at what cost?
These are the soldiers of Iraq's
elite Counter-Terrorism Service.
Spirits were high. To them, Mosul
was just another battle. And one
they were going to win.
This major is a gold division of the
site, leading the ground offensive
towards Mosul. The operation
deliberate Mosul is about to begin
for these men. But their primary
target is a string of villages on
the outside of Mosul. But as we set
off, almost read away, the team
discovered a series of roadside
bombs? Isis have been using
improvised explicit devices in
unprecedented numbers. -- explosive.
They've had two years to mind the
entry to the city and the villages
surrounding it. So even on this
off-road track, we have inched to a
crawl, as technicians go ahead
slowly to find them and blow them up
in control these potions. --
controlled explosions. As we begin
to move forward again, we suddenly
come under attack. GUNFIRE.
We have just reached the outskirts
of an Islamic state held village. We
don't know if there are Isis
fighters inside. It is a small
village. But the major is getting
all of his men together to move on
the village. GUNFIRE.
So as we are moving into the
village, on the radio, we're hearing
a lot of people shouting white flag.
So we think there are a lot of
people inside the village as well as
People may still be trapped inside.
The threat could come from anywhere:
Car bombs, suicide bombers, and
wrote minds. -- road. Intelligence
gathering is vital.
There is a wire.
The major's men are searching and
securing the area. They are looking
for any remaining Isis fighters.
Nothing is taken for granted.
This sniper leads his team to a
They need to survey, secure, and
protect the unit, from men like
themselves on the other side.
The men have captured a suspected
Islamic state fighter. Is he an
early ordinary villager turned by
Isis? -- is he an ordinary villager.
That afternoon, this man's beard is
forced to be removed. The major and
his men would leave the next
morning, leaving them behind. We
never found out whose side he was
on, or what happened here. For these
villages, the war is now over. --
It is day two of the advance. Again.
So we have just arrived in the
village here that is supposed to be
secure. We are getting ready to set
up a base and we are being fired
upon by Isis. The soldiers often
told me that fighting this war is
like fighting ghosts. They never saw
them, but they always knew they were
The guys had discovered a tunnel, a
massive, massive tunnel, just ten
metres away from the makeshift
headquarters they have set up. To
avoid coalition airstrikes, Isis
fighters went underground.
IDS constructed a vast network of
elaborate tunnels in which they
could safely move, Hyde, and wait --
Islamic State. Iraqi soldiers called
Major Salam sets fire to the
tunnel's entrance. What they're
doing now is taking tyres, burning
them, and putting them into holes
inside the tunnel to literally try
and smoke any Islamic State fighters
left inside. Frontlines taken during
the day can be easily lost at night,
when IS fighters split back across
them to launch a surprise attack. --
IS are attacking through the
Aley has just been shot. Medics are
doing everything they can.
He doesn't make it.
So it has been a pretty rough night.
IS launched a surprise attack. The
response was pretty chaotic. We
joined them as they went in Humvees
and went towards the lines to fight
ISIS, where they killed 30 IS
fighters, they said. But 17 men were
killed and there was a big incident
of friendly fire. Talking to the
guys here has a real element of
sadness and anger even.
We are moving out again, pushing
forward to the outskirts of Mosul.
When IS swept into northern Iraq in
2014, many welcome them as
liberators from and oppressive Shia
dominated government in Baghdad.
There's relief amongst some that
they are gone, but off-camera some
of the people I spoke to were afraid
of government reprisals.
It's the final push into Mosul, a
city of over 1 million people lies
ahead. Over two years ago, the
so-called Islamic State the city of
Mosul and the fears and imaginations
of the world. Today is the day the
Iraqi government is trying to take
it back. But the Golden Division
faced an enemy like no other.
When IS first took the city, the
Iraqi army just fled. Now they are
It's the first time that the Iraqi
army has entered Mosul in more than
After nine months of grinding urban
warfare through homes and city
streets, these men would finally
capture the ruined heart of the
Islamic State's to factor capital.
-- de facto.
If there is a memorial to this
brutal conflict, then it is here,
the world's largest cemetery and
where most of those killed fighting
the so-called Islamic State are
buried. It's a sprawling monument to
the generations of men who have been
killed in a nation that has gone
from war to war.