The Department of Defense rarely publicizes US operations outside the walls of Qayyarah Airfield West, the former Iraqi Air Force base in the Qayyarah subdistrict of Mosul District in northern Iraq.
The DoD would prefer to release images of soldiers firing artillery from the FOB, reloading rotary wing aircraft, as it better supports the narrative of the “train, advise, and assist” mission in Iraq.
Depspite the lack of official media releases from the Department of Defense, the public can be assured U.S. troops do leave the “wire,” including the man in charge of all ground operations.
Late last week, Major General Joseph M. Martin, commanding general of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq, and the 1st Infantry Division, was spotted by an independent journalist, the Mosul Eye, in a neighborhood on the eastern bank of Mosul.
Major General Joseph M. Martin, Commanding General, 1st Infantry at Al-Zuhur neighborhood eastern bank of Mosul. pic.twitter.com/EhPJ3J1E5S
— Mosul Eye عين الموصل (@MosulEye) March 2, 2017
At the end of January, life started to return to the city’s east bank after Iraqi forces completely retook it from ISIS, whom occupied it for two and a half years.
Iraqi forces have also had much success this week, capturing Mosul’s main government buildings in the battle against the Islamic State while also knocking out the militant group’s drones.
Iraqi forces on Tuesday said the government structures are largely destroyed. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with military leaders in Mosul on Tuesday.
Abadi toured parts of Mosul, including the Mosul International Airport.
Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service Cmdr. Lt. Gen. Abdul Ghani al-Assadi on Tuesday said the issue of the Islamic State using drones to drop hand grenades and other explosives on advancing Iraqi forces “has been resolved completely.”
Assadi said that in the past five days “not even a single flight” of IS drones has been recorded.
U.S. Air Force Col. John L. Dorrian, U.S. spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State international coalition, told Rudaw the use of drones has been inhibited by “jammers” provided by the United States.
“The Iraqi security forces are moving very rapidly right now. The enemy is not able to stop their advances,” Dorrian said. “The only thing the enemy has still been effective in doing is using drones, and even this capability has been declining.”
Iraq launched its military offensive to retake western Mosul from the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS, on Feb. 19. The offensive to retake Mosul began Oct. 17, led by Iraqi security forces and aided by the Kurdish Peshmerga, a Shiite-led militia, and the U.S.-led international coalition. Iraq fully captured east Mosul in late January.
Iraqi Maj. Gen. Najim al-Jabbouri said the equipment helped paralyze the IS drones.
“The Americans have brought in a very advanced machine to the right bank of Mosul,” Jabouri said, “It is like a big vehicle. ISIS can no longer send even one drone into the sky.”
Popular Military contributed to this report
Copyright 2017 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.