USCENTCOM: More US Troops May Be Needed Against ISIS in Syria

Iraqi and US forces liberated the eastern half of Mosul in late January and are now beginning their offensive to take the western portion of the city.

The coalition first saw drivers being chained into trucks when Iraqi security forces approached the Tigris river as they cleared eastern Mosul, Isler said.

IS had used Tell al-Rayan to position snipers and fire off rockets and mortar rounds to derail the advance of the Iraqi troops, he said.

In the morning, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, from the Joint Operations Command, announced in a statement the start of an assault to retake control of Mosul's global airport and a military base nearby from IS militant group. Thousands of security personnel on Sunday launched a fresh push in their four-month-old offensive to retake Mosul, the second city and the last stronghold of the jihadists in Iraq.

US special forces in armored vehicles on Thursday positioned near Mosul airport looked on as Iraqi troops advanced and a helicopter strafed suspected Islamic State positions.

Despite an announcement by a senior US Army official this week that US servicemen would be embedded closer to the theater of operations, Dorrian said that US troops were still staying out of danger.

"It could be that we take on a larger burden ourselves", Votel said, though he stressed he did not favor large combat deployments. Recapturing both facilities, located on the southern outskirts of Mosul, would boost Iraq's mission to regain the western section of the city, which is still under Daesh control.

Separately, the spokesman of the Joint Military Operation Command, Brig.

To the west of the Federal Police, Iraq's counterterrorism service, the country's premier fighting force, has been moving north toward the former Ghazlani military base.

The troops killed many IS militants and destroyed five booby-trapped vehicles and two vehicles carrying heavy machine guns, along with defusing some 65 roadside bombs, the statement added. There are now 450 conventional soldiers and a classified number of special operators embedded with elite Iraqi forces around Mosul, calling in airstrikes, training troops, and helping with battle tactics. We are trying to reach more than six million people across Iraq who need help. There are an estimated 750,000 civilians trapped on the city's west bank, which is a bit smaller than the east side but more densely populated.

"There are many injured still inside", said a dust-covered Khalaf of his neighborhood south of Mosul.

The U.S. -backed Iraqi forces and their allies have liberated eastern Mosul.

USA military command is preparing today a new plan to increase the military presence on Syrian territory, without the consent of Damascus authorities, to strengthen operations against the Islamic State (IS). But the Sunni militant group has since consistently lost territory as the USA -led coalition proved to be critical for Iraqi government efforts to claw back territory lost to the extremists.

  • Leroy Wright