Iraqi and Kurdish Forces Advance to Liberate Mosul

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, left, XVIII Airborne Corps commanding general, during a visit to Fort Bragg, N.C., July 27, 2016. Townsend is the incoming commander for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, left, XVIII Airborne Corps commanding general, during a visit to Fort Bragg, N.C., July 27, 2016. Townsend is the incoming commander for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

In the operation to liberate Iraq’s second-largest city from the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, Iraqi and Kurdish forces continue clearing and back-clearing areas around Mosul before they advance to the city.

It was told Friday by a spokesman of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. Air Force Col. John Dorrian briefed the Pentagon press corps via videoconference from Baghdad on Iraq’s progress to liberate Mosul.

As Iraqi and Kurdish security forces clear formerly held ISIL territory, the U.S.-led coalition continues precision strikes to take out ISIL targets, Dorrian said.

One of those targets is ISIL’s extensive tunnel networks, which the enemy uses for tactical movement and to hide weapons.

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“If left unabated, this [network] could present challenges for the Iraqi and peshmerga forces advancing on the city,” Dorrian noted. “Coalition strikes have taken out 46 tunnels since the liberation battle of Mosul started Oct. 17, reducing the threat from a favored enemy tactic.”

However, the UN cautions that it may not be easy for Iraqi forces to defeat ISIL terrorists because they are using civilians as human shields in Mosul. Also, ISIL has been forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes in sub-districts around Mosul.

They include nearly 8,000 families the group abducted, since the operations to restore Iraqi Government control over Mosul began about two weeks ago, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said Friday.

According to the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, the U.S.-led coalition has delivered nearly 2,500 close-air support bombs and missiles, artillery rounds and rockets from High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems on enemy targets.

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Rakesh Raman