Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are making progress as they push toward Mosul in the effort to liberate the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Pentagon's press secretary said on Monday.
"There's no question that counter-ISIL forces continue to have the momentum in this fight," spokesman Peter Cook said at today's Pentagon press briefing.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who was in Iraq last week, was encouraged by the performance of the counter-ISIL forces in the opening days of the battle, and continues to be encouraged, Cook said.
"The campaign is on track and moving forward according to plan," Cook said.
Progress in the last 24 hours includes the successful clearing of the villages of Ali Rash on the southeast outskirts of Mosul, and the clearing of Kharab Bayt and Kani Shirin north of Mosul, Cook pointed out.
The offensive to liberate Mosul began Oct. 17.
Progress Due to 'Bravery and Dedication'
Cook said Iraqi forces have reported that in some places they are less than a kilometer from the city. Tough fighting ahead is expected, he said.
ISIL has used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, indirect fire and snipers in an attempt to delay the advance of the Iraqi forces, he said. The terrorists have also set an obscuration fire to try to conceal their positions and movements.
"None of this has stopped the Iraqi advance, and of course, the support for the Iraqi advance from the coalition," Cook remarked.