The International Rescue Committee said it had spoken to residents inside the besieged city, who had been stockpiling white cloths to wave in surrender when anti-Isis forces eventually enter the city. The IRC also said the old and infirm were struggling to breathe properly in Mosul because of the toxic smoke of oil fires. Peshmerga leaders have said they will not enter Mosul, leaving that role to the Iraqi army, which is anxious to use the campaign as a nation-building moment, two years after it too fled the area.
“They can have Mosul,” said one Peshmerga officer, three miles behind the front. “We don’t want it. All we want is the Kurdish land that Saddam took from us. After that, we can build a real country.”