Iraqi forces are advancing into western Mosul and making steady gains in efforts to liberate the area from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today.
The ISIS-controlled area is “shrinking steadily with each passing day,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian told Pentagon reporters in a news briefing from Baghdad.
“The main effort is to isolate the remaining enemy remnants in the west part of Mosul,” he said, noting the terrorists will “either surrender or they’re going to be killed there.”
Iraqi forces have encountered moderate resistance in their approach, Dorrian said.
The coalition continues to pound ISIS targets in precision strikes, destroying 23 ISIS mortar and artillery pieces in the first three days of operation, he said. That is setting the conditions for Iraqi forces to retake the Mosul airport and begin moving toward more dense urban terrain, the colonel said.
“Conditions have been set for ISIS’s defeat through their significant effort to reduce their command and control, their weapons and their financial resources,” Dorrian said.
‘Extraordinarily Difficult Fight’ Expected
He commended the Iraqi forces for their progress, but noted they have a number of challenges ahead of them. Those challenges include the tedious and extremely dangerous task of clearing each of the more than 100,000 buildings in west Mosul, Dorrian said.
The narrow streets in the oldest parts of the city will make it difficult for the Iraqis to move their vehicles, he said, but that also means the terrorists will not be able to move vehicle-borne explosive devices.