As Iraq forces continue their assault on Mosul, the last big city in Iraq still under ISIS control, we’re learning more about the role of the US military in the operation. Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall has more from Irbil, Iraq.
Iraqi, Kurdish, and tribal forces now tightening their grip on the area around Mosul, Preparing for the final offensive. And the pentagon says the US is stepping up its role in the fight.
Sending Apache attack helicopters to hit ISIS targets in and around the city.
The top US commander on the ground says the Apaches have an added psychological advantage as well.
“What we’ve seen is the Iraqis, it’s also a confidence building measure, as they hear these Apaches in the general area.”
Elements of the 101st Airborne and 1st Infantry Division are leading US efforts on the ground… but there are cracks starting to show in the fragile anti-ISIS coalition with Turkey lashing out at US and Iraqi leaders claiming they’re conspiring to keep Turkish troops out of the fight for Mosul.
“Our position has nothing to do with war-mongering, with the violation of Iraq’s sovereignty or any other ulterior motive. We want to be present wherever we need to be to protect our freedom.”
But the White House insists Iraqi forces take the lead in the fight to liberate the city. And they say it’s an important indicator of the country’s ability to defeat ISIS without large numbers of US troops on the ground.
“There’s a direct tie between our investment in the professionalism of the Iraqi security forces and the likelihood of success they’ll have against ISIL.”
“The operation to re-take Mosul is on schedule. And, in some areas, ahead of the timeline set by US and Iraqi commanders.
In Irbil, Iraq, Benjamin Hall, Fox News