Channel 2 New’s Efrat Lachter released another exclusive report from the battles in Iraq after embedding with the Peshmerga forces on their way to conquer Mosul and defeat ISIS
Efrat Lachter in Iraq Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
Last week, JOL reported that ISIS added the name of Israeli reporter Efrat Lachter, who was covering the Kurdish and Iraqi forces’ progression toward Mosul in Iraq, to its most wanted list. Despite the serious danger, the Channel 2 News reporter accompanied the Peshmerga forces during the operation to liberate Mosul from the hands of ISIS.
According to Lachter, the operation to conquer Mosul was in planning for many months and some have hoped that it would serve as a turning point in the battle against ISIS. Lachter stresses that the battles taking place around Mosul are completely different from those that people are familiar with in the West: the weapons are outdated, there is no clear hierarchy and the value of human lives is low.
“Up until now, the only force that has been able to fight on the ground and defeat ISIS’s terrorists are the Peshmerga fighters,” one of the fighters told her. “That is why their name has become blessed and is a symbol, not only in Kurdistan but across the globe. Everybody is proud of the Peshmerga because they are fighting in the name of humanity.”
An unlikely coalition against ISIS Photo Credit: Reuters / Channel 2 News
In Lachter’s latest report, she notes that the Kurds are only one of the parties involved in this war, which has led to an almost impossible coalition between Iraqi, Iranian, Kurdish and American forces. Not only is there no connection between these forces, she stresses, but some of them have fought against each other in the past. The Sector Commander even admitted to her that he would have preferred IDF forces fighting alongside him to the Iranian Army.
According to Lachter, the Peshmerga fighters – an army without a country – are prepared to shed blood for the dream that at the end of the war, they will receive the country that they so dearly yearn for. She explained that this army, which is supposed to topple the West’s greatest enemy, is made up of anyone who is willing to fight, from boys to women, and these have become the symbol of Kurdish fighting.
A million refugees await the city’s liberation Photo Credit: Reuters / Channel 2 News
With two million residents, Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq. ISIS took control of the city in 2014 almost unchallenged. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself governor and imposed his terror regime on the city, leading to the flight of around a million residents. According to Lachter, the organization no longer lets anyone get away and those who are caught trying to escape are executed on the spot.
Lechter believes that several weeks will pass before Mosul falls. Even after it does, she notes, no one knows for certain what the liberating forces will find but it seems that ISIS has prepared for the event of such an operation with a network of underground tunnels and concealed explosives and will not give up easily.
Will the liberation of Mosul mark the beginning of ISIS’s downfall? Will al-Baghdadi be eliminated? Who will control the Sunni city after ISIS is defeated? What will be the fate of the million refugees? And who will ensure that the rival forces that are currently cooperating against a common enemy won’t turn their weapons on each other? All these questions, Lachter notes, still remain unanswered.