Iraq Pledges To Crush ISIS 'In Three Weeks' With New Push

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2017

US officials have said the Iraqis are reluctant to advance farther without the global coalition's surveillance and air support to spot and soften up ISIS defenses ahead of them. The US official said discussions were in early stages and "nothing has been finalised". Abadi maintains that the US troops already operating in his country, about 7,000, are merely acting as advisers, but many serve close to the front lines around Mosul and have played a much more active role in combat against ISIS than expected.

An Iraqi official told Stars and Stripes about five bases near Mosul and the Iraq-Syria border where it would make the most sense to station USA soldiers.

The move does not mean that the numbers of troops in Iraq and Syria will change, "nor does it change the process by which we will manage those forces", said Davis. At the height of the surge of US forces in 2007, there were about 170,000 American troops in the country.

Militarily, there were signs that ISIS was already preparing for an Iraq where U.S. forces were no longer advising their Iraqi counterparts or calling in coalition airstrikes against ISIS targets.

A member of the Iraqi security forces secures a building on the front line in Mosul's Old City. "We are still advancing to liberate the other neighborhoods", the officer said.

The Iraqi army's new push in the battle to recapture Mosul has been hailed as "the beginning of the end" for the extremist group there. The numbers were wound down eventually to 40,000 before the complete withdrawal in 2011 under Obama.

Flooding of the Tigris has cut off all crossing points between east and west and forced the military to dismantle the pontoon bridges set up to link the two halves of Iraq's second-largest city.

Townsend, who was standing by Mattis, declined to say how long the United States will stay in Iraq.

As hundreds of thousands of civilians are still in Mosul, anti-IS forces have had to limit their use of aerial attacks and artillery in the city.

Iraqi forces have launched a fresh operation to liberate the last remaining districts of the city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists.

But getting to the mosque has proven to be troublesome for security forces.

"Our support to the government of Iraq is going to remain the same type of relationship that we continued with them throughout the [ISIS] campaign", he told reporters during a briefing from Baghdad.

Other reports by iNewsToday