Published: Tue, December 13, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

U.S. commander: 2000 IS casualties in battle for Mosul

A statement that was issued by the Iraqi government's media office after the meeting finished said that Al-Abadi held a meeting with Carter and his accompanying delegation during which they discussed "the progress of operations in Mosul and the victories achieved by the Iraqi forces in battle, the restoration of stability to liberated areas and training and equipping Iraqi forces". He assured them that the Mosul campaign is on track.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters there are still an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 IS fighters defending Mosul.

Townsend spoke a joint news conference with Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Iraqi air base that's serving as the staging base for the battle.

Intelligence gathered prior to the assault on Mosul only served to reinforce that thinking, showing IS fighters concentrating their defenses to the West of the Tigris River, which cuts through the city.

The latest humanitarian emergency compounds a years-old crisis which has seen more than 620,000 people forced to flee their homes in Iraq this year alone, bringing to 3.1 million the number of Iraqis now displaced. Their losses have been significant and, to both Iraqi and US officials, surprising.

Iraqi forces on Monday announced a "tactical halt" of its ongoing push into eastern districts of Daesh-held Mosul, according to a military source.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani and Carter will discuss the next moves in the fight.

Around 5,000 USA troops are deployed in Iraq as part of an "advise and assist" mission to support Iraqi federal and Kurdish peshmerga forces battling jihadists.

He said the United States would send up to 200 additional troops to Syria to help train and assist US-backed local forces that are driving towards ISIS' self-declared capital in Raqqa.

"With the military operation moving deeper into the city, fighting in the densely populated parts of Mosul may trigger larger scale displacement", it said.

Carter said at an global security conference that the battles for Mosul and for the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the extremists' self-described caliphate, would be crucial for defeating the group, which has claimed terrorist attacks worldwide.

"The seizure of these two cities is necessary to ensure the destruction of ISIL's parent tumor in Iraq and Syria - the primary objective of our military campaign - and put ISIL on an irreversible path to a lasting defeat", he said, using another acronym for IS.

Carter, whose tenure as defense secretary will end in January if his designated successor - retired Marine Gen. James Mattis - is confirmed by the Senate as expected, also made the case for keeping USA forces in Iraq even after the Islamic State group is dislodged from Mosul. The extremists, he predicted, will attempt to survive by reinventing themselves "in some other shape or form" after they lose their grip on Iraq and Syria. Mosul is located about 250 miles from Baghdad, where 12 people were killed on Sunday during a six bombings, two of which were claimed by ISIS, according to the AP.

"They front-loaded the fight", a US official told VOA, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Like this: