Offensive on Mosul Has Not 'Stalled,' Says Pentagon Spokesperson

Over 30,000 active Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting in Mosul.

ByABC News
October 18, 2016, 2:20 PM

— -- Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis told reporters today that the coalition of forces fighting ISIS in Mosul has not stalled in its offensive despite reports of roadside explosives and booby traps.

“It would be absolutely crazy to suggest on day two [of the offensive] that we’re stalled already,” Capt. Davis said, explaining that "pauses" were created so that forces could wait for logistics or clearance to catch up with operations.

Ten-thousand Kurdish forces, 18,000 Iraqi forces and a few thousand Iraqi federal police are involved in the operation on Mosul. Roughly 100 American advisers are also involved in the mission, which is divided into two fronts--one west of the Great Zab river and the other just north of Qayyarah.

The American advisers typically stay at the division headquarters level, Davis said, but those that work with the Kurdish and Iraqi special operations work directly in the field. Additional U.S. military personnel provide logistical assistance at bases in Qayyarah and Makhmour.

Kurdish forces captured a number of small, largely unpopulated villages to the east, according to the AP, who noted that ISIS had unleashed a series of suicide car and truck bomb attacks in retaliation.

Davis said Kurdish forces that have taken over those historically Kurdish towns are being followed by Iraqi Army forces. He described a “sort of leapfrog situation” where the Iraqi forces will move ahead to Mosul and the Kurdish forces will remain in place to secure the Kurdish populated areas.

ISIS forces have resisted the Iraqi and Kurdish advance; in one case a suicide car bomber struck a Kurdish tank. It was not immediately clear whether or not any casualties occurred from that attack.

The attack on Mosul, a city of 1 million, has already unleashed streams of refugees that is likely to intensify in the coming days, and may threaten to overwhelm camps.

At least 200,000 people could be displaced as a result of the offensive, according to UN estimates.

Davis said civilians have not been seen leaving Mosul since the offensive began, which he attributed to ISIS restricting the movements of the city’s population.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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