ISIS resorts to guerrilla tactics as Iraqi troops approach Mosul

Iraqi troops approach Mosul

The United States says progress will slow down as the American-backed Iraqi offensive to take back Mosul from ISIS draws closer to the city. U.S. officials say an area larger than New York City has already been retaken from ISIS.

Kurdish forces are still clearing Bashiqa, eight miles northeast of Mosul, reports CBS News correspondent Holly Williams. 

They’re up against the usual guerrilla tactics that are being used by ISIS: homemade explosives, networks of tunnels and suicide bombers.

Like most of the towns and villages taken so far, Bashiqa is uninhabited. Its residents fled two years ago when ISIS first moved in. 

In contrast there are around a million civilians in Mosul and this region is expecting a surge of refugees when the fighting moves into the city.

Meanwhile, ISIS is launching new assaults outside the territory it still controls. The extremists released a new video apparently showing an attack on the town of Rutba on Sunday. That’s about 200 miles west of Baghdad and that fighting is ongoing, according to a U.S. official. 

The first week of the Mosul offensive has seen the most intense wave of U.S.-coalition airstrikes since they began two years ago, dropping 1,700 munitions. But as the battle closes in on Mosul, launching airstrikes will become more difficult without risking massive civilian casualties. 

Only on the “CBS This Morning” Podcast, CBS News foreign correspondent Holly Williams and her team share what it’s like to report from a battlefield. While on the ground in northern Iraq, they detail what they have seen in the battle for Mosul, what drives their desire to report from war zones, and what leaving a family at home to travel to a dangerous location is like.

Listen to this episode on Stitcher