U.S. coalition forces in Iraq now up to 8,000 in advance of offensive to retake Mosul

by WorldTribune Staff, September 30, 2016

The U.S.-led coalition now has 8,000 troops on the ground in Iraq.

The U.S. said earlier this week it will send more advisers to assist the preparation for an assault on Mosul aimed at driving out Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to retake Mosul and rid the country of ISIL by the end of 2016. /AFP
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to retake Mosul and rid the country of ISIL by the end of 2016. /AFP

“The reason for the increase of U.S. advisers in Iraq is to provide the necessary support for the imminent campaign to recapture Mosul from the Daesh terrorist group,” the Iraqi government said in a statement on Sept. 28.

“The Iraqi government has consulted with the U.S. president on this issue,” it added, stressing that “any increase [in the number of advisers] will be carried out under the auspices of the international coalition.”

The 60-nation anti-ISIL coalition has carried out numerous airstrikes to back Iraq and its allied forces on the ground at it clears the way for the battle for Mosul, which is expected to begin in early October.

Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have recently captured a number of areas on the outskirts of Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year’s end.

Col. John Dorian, a spokesman for the anti-ISIL alliance, put the number of coalition troops now on the ground in Iraq at 8,000 and the number of jihadists in Mosul at somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000.

“Our intelligence confirms that Daesh militants have dug trenches and erected outposts inside Mosul,” he said. “We expect to see fighting inside the city.”

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