Enemy Defeat Is Accelerating
To accelerate ISIL’s defeat, the secretary pointed out, the coalition is providing a range of capabilities to enable the Iraqis to continue to shrink ISIL’s brutal hold over Iraq’s territory.
“The coalition is also eliminating ISIL’s leadership in Mosul — targeting more than 35 ISIL commanders there, including many of the highest, in the last 90 days. In fact, you might say the most dangerous job in Iraq right now is to be the military emir of Mosul,” he said.
While he is encouraged by the results of the Mosul operation so far as it proceeds according to plan, Carter added the fight to liberate the city of more than 1 million residents will be tough.
“We’ll probably see more resistance as the fight goes on, and almost certainly as our partners approach the core of the city,” he said, adding, “I’m confident the Iraqi security forces will succeed.”
Local Forces In Raqqa, Syria Critical to ISIL Defeat
While the operation to retake Mosul continues, the operation in Syria to liberate Raqqa from ISIL control also is under way, Carter said.
“Our local Syrian partners will certainly collapse ISIL’s control [in Raqqa] as well,” he told the coalition defense ministers, adding, “As we meet here, we’re helping to generate the local forces that will commence the isolation of Raqqa because the force that takes Raqqa will have to be a local force. That’s vital to ISIL’s lasting defeat.”