Iraqi Troops Advance Toward Mosul as ISIL Tries to Hide Movements
Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga security forces are working together as they advance along several axes to liberate Mosul, Iraq, from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant control, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, director of Pentagon press operations, told reporters yesterday.
“The level of coordination and cooperation we have seen between the Kurds and the [Iraqi security forces] has been very good,” Davis said. “They’re working together very well, collaborating just the way we would want them to.”
The U.S. military supports Iraq’s counter-ISIL fight with a wide range of capabilities such as air support, artillery, intelligence, advisors and air controllers, he noted. “To be clear, the thousands of combat forces that are going to liberate Mosul are Iraqis,” he added. “We have, to date, conducted tens of thousands of precision strikes to support Iraqi operations.”
And while the U.S.-led coalition has trained and equipped more than 54,000 Iraqi forces, it will continue to focus on the enemy and work diligently to minimize any impact on innocent civilians, Davis emphasized.
“We can’t predict how long it will take for the [Iraqi security forces] to defeat ISIL in Mosul, but we know we will succeed,” he said, citing other towns and villages they have liberated from ISIL’s grip since 2014.
ISIL Tries to Block Attacks
ISIL has lighted what Davis described as “obfuscation fires – giant pits with tires and oil they light quickly to create big, thick black clouds of smoke to conceal their movements and positions [and] make it harder for coalition aircraft to see and target them.”