Fighting the Islamic State group in Mosul with Iraq’s elite Golden Division

Golden Division

Golden Division

As Iraqi forces battle to retake the country’s second largest city of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group, FRANCE 24 joined the elite counter-terrorism unit Golden Division as it pushed into the eastern Zahra district.

The battle for Mosul, which was captured by the IS group in 2014, has been a gruelling struggle fought under tough conditions, largely because the city is heavily populated with civilians.

But for the Golden Division, a unit of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces, the offensive on Zahra marked just another day of intense fighting against the jihadists.

“We’re now in Zahra district and we’re going to the frontline which separates us from the IS group fighters,” the unit’s Captain Ghaith told FRANCE 24 as he drove a vehicle through the streets of eastern Mosul.

The Golden Division has led nearly every major battle against the IS group since the start of the country’s war against the militants.

Since the Golden Division entered Zahra, it has undertaken a systematic clearing of militants from the district.