As the Coalition against ISIS moves into phase two of its operation to retake for Mosul, there are still concerns about whether U.S. forces are remaining in their role of ‘advise and assist’.
During a press briefing at the Pentagon this morning, USAF Col. John Dorian, the official spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, confirmed the U.S. has roughly doubled the amount of U.S. military personnel that are advising Iraqi forces on the ground to 450.
Dorian assured the media that advisers have been “behind the front lines” but confirmed -for the first time- their presence within the city limits of Mosul.
While he would not state how many of the advisers have been in the city or provide a breakdown of which countries the advisers were from, he stated US military advisers have been in the city.
Since the U.S.-backed offensive began on Oct. 17, the Iraqi security forces have been hindered by the two years ISIS had to prepare their defenses and their use of civilians as shields, according to Dorian.
The Iraqis have the daunting task of clearing some 2,000 buildings that have been armed with “booby traps” and tunnels.
“ISF has done a tremendous job of doing that very, very dangerous mission and protecting civilians while they do it,” said Dorian.
In an effort to help advance the offensive, the Coalition has conducted airstrikes and increased the amount of advisers, a decision made in the last few weeks.
Dorian stated that any changes to the level of support will have to be requested by Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, to CENTCOM to be sent up the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense and eventually the White House.
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