Iraqi Forces Retake Mosul Airport From Islamic State

The new rules, which were supplemented with more directives weeks ago, allow USA personnel to better assist - physically and logistically - the Iraqi army's 9th Division.

Backed by the USA -led coalition's airstrikes, artillery, Special Operations forces and hundreds of advisers, Iraqi troops are expected to encounter heavy resistance as they enter western Mosul's labyrinth of alleyways, tight side streets and multistory buildings. But he said decisions about how to accelerate the fight would include careful deliberation and consideration of the second- and third-order effects of USA military action. Iraqi lawmakers sought reciprocal limits on American citizens.

Iraqi and USA forces liberated the eastern half of Mosul in late January and are now beginning their offensive to take the western portion of the city. That fight, while ultimately successful, was costly.

According to unnamed U.S. officials cited Friday by the Wall Street Journal, the proposal is expected to include "sending additional troops to Iraq and Syria" and "loosening battlefield restrictions" to "ease rules created to minimize civilian casualties". On Thursday, U.S. forces were seen in the front lines of the attack.

"Displacement has also continued from eastern parts of the city, alongside return movements back into some east Mosul neighborhoods, and to surrounding areas", he said.

Iraqi officials said they had information that recent attacks in Baghdad had been organized from inside Syria.

They started closing in on the airport four days ago.

Making up for a lack of fighters, IS militants are increasingly relying on modified commercial drones to guide suicide vehicle bombers to their targets and to launch small-scale airstrikes on Iraqi forces.

There are also concerns over the ability of the CTS to continue fighting at the pace it has for the past year.

However, the western side of Mosul, with its narrow streets and a population of between 750,000 and 800,000, appears to be a bigger challenge to the Iraqi forces.

The American forces are not supposed to be engaged in the fighting under Washington's terms of the US involvement in Iraq.

Iraq has been fighting ISIS since 2014 when it stormed and conquered swaths of the country as well as neighboring Syria. The Iraqis attacked from two directions, throwing the defenders into disarray, something McAslan said was a "defining moment" in the fight since it showed how confused ISIS gunmen became when pressured from multiple directions at once. Offensive operations were temporarily halted to allow the allied forces to regroup and resupply for the push to the city's west. The Trump administration reportedly scrapped a detailed plan left by former President Barack Obama's administration that outlined a strategy to train Kurdish forces, provide them with new equipment, and help them retake Raqqa, instead telling the Pentagon to come up with new options.

While nominally operating as military advisors to the Iraqi forces, the United States servicemen taking part in the assault on Mosul have been involved in front-line fighting and an undisclosed number have suffered battle injuries, according to military officials.

  • Leroy Wright