Iraqi fighters, supported by the U.S.-led coalition formed to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, have retaken 70 to 80 percent of eastern Mosul from the terrorists, Task Force Strike Commander Army Col. Brett Sylvia said here today.
Sylvia is commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Strike, which is part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Task Force Strike is the roughly 1,700-person unit responsible for the advise-and-assist mission in Iraq. Sylvia briefed the press this morning during a video conference live from Baghdad.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Task Force Strike advisory teams have advised the Iraqi security forces through operations in Fallujah, Sharqat, Qayyarah and the occupation of Qayyarah West Airfield, and are now advising during operations to retake Mosul.
Task Force Strike’s role is critical in setting the conditions for the inevitable military defeat of ISIL in Iraq, Davis added.
Progress in Eastern Mosul
The Iraqis “believe [the fight is] between 70 and 80 percent complete with eastern Mosul. And really, in terms of kind of the doctrinal definition of defeat, you can say that there has been a defeat there because they have certainly broken [ISIL’s] will to fight … in earnest in eastern Mosul,” Sylvia told reporters.
But the battle for Mosul isn’t over, he said.
“There’s a lot of fight that’s left to do in western Mosul,” Sylvia noted, adding that the Iraqis have done extensive defensive work in western Mosul and in some cases have greater defenses in western Mosul than they did in the eastern part of the city.