Mar 7, 2017
Iraqi security forces continue to make progress in their fight to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS terrorists. Iraqi forces have succeeded in taking back Mosul International Airport said the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad, Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said Iraqi forces have "begun breaching into the outskirts of the city, with the Iraqi counterterrorism service, federal police and army moving along three axes of advance that clear the enemy from neighborhoods inside the city, but also enveloping the city to the west."
“This enemy's been preparing for this battle for some time," said General Townsend, "and they've done an extensive amount of work to dig and build barriers to complicate the Iraqi advance. We've seen them use. . . tunnels, shipping containers and vehicles in the streets to slow the [Iraqi forces] down, and they've rigged many of these barriers with explosives.”
The U.S.-led coalition continues to strike those barriers with precision fire to help the Iraqis advance, Townsend said.
ISIS has been dealt another significant blow in Syria, where Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have liberated al-Bab, the last significant ISIS-controlled population center in the Aleppo district.Freeing al-Bab, said General Townsend, has closed the door to ISIS' supply line of new fighters and its ability to export terrorists around the world. The liberation of al-Bab also means Turkey now has secured its border from ISIS, the general noted.
“The coalition is committed to the security of Turkey and will continue to work in close coordination with partner forces and allies to deliver a lasting defeat to ISIS, which remains the greatest terrorist threat to the region and the world,” said General Townsend.
The coalition continues planning for the eventual liberation of Raqqa, ISIS's self-proclaimed capital, Townsend told reporters.“The liberation of Raqqa will bring an end to the enemy's mythology that they were ever more than a brutal, murderous terrorist group. And then, we will continue working with our partners to deal them a lasting defeat."