Iraqi forces gain foothold in Mosul after new push
06.05.2017 Madeline Patrick
In his statement, Haider Al-Abadi emphasized that there are no foreign combat troops on Iraqi soil and that any American troops who stay on once Daesh militants are defeated will be advisers working to train Iraq’s security forces to maintain “full readiness” for any “future security challenges”.
“[The source said] that these were people that were fleeing the clashes, the fighting [that is] going on between Iraqi security forces and ISIL in that neighbourhood of western Mosul, and that they had taken refuge in a “school house” in that area”, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoon, reporting from Erbil in northern Iraq, said.
It would represent a major symbolic setback for the group whose unprecedented experiment in jihadist statehood was heralded by the conquest of Mosul in June 2014.
Colonel Dorrian told Rudaw recently that their estimates show that there are fewer than 1,000 ISIS militants left in Mosul, down from at least some 6,000 militants when the Iraqis launched the Mosul offensive last October.
The US and its allies have been providing aerial support to the Iraqi forces backed by Shia paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
A US -led worldwide coalition is providing key air and ground support to the offensive on Mosul, Islamic State’s de facto capital in Iraq, which started in October. “There are defences in place”, he said.
The Mosul neighborhoods under ISIS control are still home to hundreds of thousands of people. Gen. Joseph Martin, commander of ground forces for the US -led coalition.
The Bush administration negotiated the 2011 withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq, but the Obama administration failed to reach an agreement with the Iraqis to provide United States forces with protections to stay beyond that date.
Since then, a highly publicized surge in civilian casualties, likely the result of increasing US airstrikes coupled with ISIS’s broadened use of human shields, has slowed the Iraqi momentum.
Members of the Iraqi Army clash with Daesh at a frontline in north west of Mosul, Iraq, May 5, 2017.
Iraqi army soldiers took over Mosul’s airport, providing them a gateway to the western part of the city.
Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has long criticised the presence of USA troops in Iraq, even going so far as to describe them as a potential “target” for his supporters.
“I am looking at trying to strike right in front of him as well as deep, even into Old Mosul“.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces have made territorial gains on the outskirts of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital Baghdad.