While some Iraqi troops managed to reach the outskirts of Mosul last week, the overwhelming majority of the military operations continue to be on the outskirts, where Iraqi officials concede that elaborate defenses set up by ISIS are severely hampering their efforts.

 

Iraq

 

While officials were previously bragging that their offensive was well ahead of schedule, the special forces leading the charge have been quickly spread thin, some given significant room to advance while others were slowed.

 

US and Iraqi talk of an imminent invasion of Mosul began months before the offensive actually happened, giving ISIS ample time to set up booby traps,. build barricades to create chokepoints, and to dig tunnels through which they could move covertly around the battlefield.

 

Advancing in a more organized manner is dependent on Iraqi forces being able to clear neighborhoods in the suburbs, but there are so many ISIS surprises waiting for them when they try to do so that the effort is going arduously slowly, likely underscoring just how long the overall offensive will take.