BY DALTON THOMAS (@DALTONLTHOMAS)
During the twilight hours before the sun rose on Monday (17 October 2016), the Iraqi PM officially declared the launch of the campaign the liberate Mosul from the bloodstained clutch of the Islamic State. Our team awoke to the news, and the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces had already taken a number of towns and villages outside Mosul before our morning coffee cups were emptied. They’d already pronounced their first casualties dead. We loaded into our trucks and made it out to the north-east rim of the front by midday.
In a last-ditch effort to stall their eviction notice, ISIS militants set fire to oil fields surrounding Mosul, effectively blackening the sky with smoke to thwart coalition air strikes. Yet by mid-afternoon, the flanking operations for Day One of the Mosul Operation were already almost done and dusted. After we connected with commanding officers about where we could be of most use in a medical capacity, we drove to a southern side of the front to connect up with Peshmerga units from our adopted hometown.
While we await the arrival of our medical team next week, our ground medic is embedded in Bashiqa (see dropped pin in image above) to serve in the early days of the operation. Our aim at this stage is to maintain and grow a medical presence for the next three weeks as the initial staging campaigns intensify. Once these early campaigns are over, we will assess how to best proceed.
During Paul’s witness to the Thessalonians, he shared “not only the Gospel with them, but [his life] as well.” We are not serving the Mosul Operation in a combat capacity. We are serving our neighbors—the Kurdish Peshmerga—because we committed to being better friends to them than the mountains they hide in. We stand on the front lines with them so we can help remove bullets which will otherwise take their lives during these early flanking and staging offensives. Once the perimeter is secured, the Iraqi forces from the south (Iraq proper) will advance into the city—which could be days, weeks or months from now.
Once Mosul is liberated, our mode of operation will evolve from primarily serving injured Peshmerga to prioritizing relief ministry for the upwards of one million civilians who will flee their tattered city for the safety and refuge of Kurdistan—where refugee camps for hundreds of thousands of people are still being built. By that time, it’ll be winter and the humanitarian crisis will come to a head. With that said, we desire to maintain a perpetual connection with Peshmerga to serve them well beyond the immediate needs of this present season.
We are grateful for your love and prayer for Kurdistan. We will keep you updated as things develop.
FOR HIS GLORY —
Founder/Presider of Frontier Alliance International
 See I Thessalonians 2:8