Pentagon Says Iraqis Holding Line Against Islamic State


By Terri Moon Cronk

In the past 24 hours, Iraqi forces maintained their defensive positions against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters on three sides of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, Pentagon press operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Tuesday.

The Islamic State (ISIL) has had control of Mosul for two years, and the Iraqis have cleared 15 to 20 percent of the city of enemy forces since the liberation of the city began Oct. 17, Davis said.

Also in the past 24 hours, Davis said, the U.S.-led coalition conducted five airstrikes, delivering 101 munitions. These strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units, four ISIL vehicles, four enemy mortar systems, four ISIL-held buildings, three rocket-propelled grenades, two vehicle-borne homemade bombs, two front-end loaders, a tunnel, a land bridge and a supply cache; damaged 13 supply routes; and suppressed three ISIL tactical units, he added.

Davis said the number of munitions delivered in support of the liberation campaign now totals 6,602. The airstrikes have destroyed 967 vehicle bombs, 111 tunnels, 274 vehicles, 280 bunkers, 20 anti-aircraft artillery systems and 224 artillery and mortar systems, he said.

Raqqa in Next Isolation Phase

Elsewhere in the campaign to defeat ISIL, the Syrian Democratic Forces have begun the third phase of the effort to isolate the city of Raqqa, a self-proclaimed ISIL capital in Syria. Many Arab citizens who have been liberated from villages around Raqqa are seeking to join the SDF’s fight against ISIL, Davis said.

“Thus far, the new axis has encountered very little resistance from ISIL,” he said, adding, “ISIL has mostly been turning and running as [SDF] have come in.”

The SDF have regained about 300 square miles since the isolation of Raqqa began early last month, Davis said.

In the past 24 hours, the U.S.-led coalition’s four airstrikes delivered 24 munitions against ISIL targets, which include three tactical units, a command-and-control node and five supply routes in support of SDF operations to isolate Raqqa, Davis said. The most recent airstrikes bring the total number of munitions in support of the SDF since Dec. 5 to 922, he added.

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DoD News publishes news from the US Defense Department.

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