Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

New front to seize Iraq's Mosul from IS

New front to seize Iraq's Mosul from IS

Since the Mosul offensive began last October, the USA role has evolved so that American forces are now partnered with Iraqi troops at a lower level, reducing the time it takes them to respond to Islamic State.

While an increased USA military commitment in Iraq could build on recent battlefield victories against ISIS, the proposed US troop surge in Afghanistan is needed to break the stalemate in the war there.

In a statement in Baghdad, the Prime Minister said, the American troops will then only have an advisory role to help security forces maintain full readiness for any future security challenges.

"In the beginning, we thought the postings were a routine rotation.but it has now been confirmed that they are additional forces", he said, adding that most of the soldiers were sent to outposts south of Mosul and Haditha dam in Anbar province.

The offensive to retake Mosul began October 17, led by Iraqi security forces and aided by the Kurdish Peshmerga, a Shiite-led militia, and the USA -led global coalition.

A senior USA official said in an interview with BuzzFeed News that the Trump administration appeared to be coming around to the idea that reinforcing the U.S. partnership with the Iraqi security forces could in fact be an effective way to counter Iranian influence in the country. "We were freed, but we are not happy because we lost the people closest to us".

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Dorrian said the Iraqi Security Forces "are more than capable" of stopping the escape of ISIS fighters from Mosul, "as the ISF have built up the perimeter in a manner that makes a breakout very hard".

He said two military vehicles were also destroyed in the attacks. The push on the western half of the city has been particularly grueling, and has claimed hundreds of Iraqi lives.

The fight for Mosul's west has been slow and deadly to Iraqi forces and civilians caught in the crossfire.

Moreover, there is no guarantee that United States troops largely stationed on isolated bases can reduce Iranian influence, which could come in the form of militias stationed beside their Iraqi counterparts.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Friday evening expressed condolences to the Iraqi government and nation over an airstrike that has killed dozens of civilians at a disused school in western Mosul, including women and children.

The family is among hundreds fleeing renewed fighting in western Mosul after US-backed Iraqi forces opened a new front last week in their battle to oust the ISIL militants who seized the city in 2014.

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