US troops to step up support for Iraqi forces in Mosul

US troops to step up support for Iraqi forces in Mosul

Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the U.S. is stepping up support for Iraqi forces as they fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"Will we do more to enable as they go north? Yes, we fully expect to do that," Carter told reporters at a briefing on Monday.

"That includes, in addition to directly enabling Iraqi forces, some things like logistics and bridging and there are a whole lot of capabilities," he added. "So we fully expect to be doing more and differing in both scale and the kinds of things that we're doing."

ADVERTISEMENT
Carter also said that the tide has turned favor of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.

"Because of our strategy and our determination to accelerate our campaign, momentum is now on our side and not on ISIL's," Carter said, using an alternate acronym for the group.

Mosul is Iraq's second largest city and has been an ISIS stronghold since June 2014.

The military's specific recommendations on what will be done in Mosul will come in the "near future," added Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who spoke alongside Carter.

Dunford said, however, there were several things the U.S. wants to do in the Mosul offensive. 

"One is we want to position ourselves to most effectively support combined arms for [the] Iraqis as they conduct operations, and the second piece is we want to make sure they have uninterrupted flow of logistic support," he said. 

"When I make a recommendation to the secretary, it will really -- that's where the qualitative changes would be made," Dunford continued. 

"[We'll] take a really hard look at the lessons learned in Ramadi, say how do we best posture U.S. forces to enable what is an Iraqi operation ... to make [sure] combined arms are effectively delivered when and where the Iraqis need them to maintain momentum going into Mosul and then to make sure that they have the logistics support necessary to continue operations without what we would describe as an operational pause," he added.