Pentagon: ISIL taking 'defensive posture' in Iraq

Despite maintaining control in Mosul and parts of Anbar province, ISIL's momentum has been halted significantly, says Rear Adm. John Kirby.

Pentagon: ISIL taking 'defensive posture' in Iraq
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
 The Pentagon said Tuesday that the ISIL terror group has largely taken "a defensive posture" in Iraq in the last several weeks.

"We very much see ISIL largely in a defensive posture inside Iraq, that whatever momentum they had been enjoying has been halted, has been blunted. That has stayed steady over the last couple of weeks," said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby Kirby during a daily briefing. 

The group still maintains control over Mosul and parts of Anbar province bordering the capital of Baghdad, and Ramadi in particular, he added.

Kirby said that it's very much a contested environment. "What we don't see, what we haven't seen in the last several weeks has been any renewed offensive moves by ISIL of any significance."

He also said that the U.S. would send more troops to Iraq in the coming weeks in order to train Iraqi forces, but declined to give exact numbers.

There are currently 2,140 American soldiers and Marines in Iraq. Eight hundred are protection forces, providing security for the U.S. embassy and military personnel, and training Iraqi security forces at several locations in Iraq.  

The total number of American military personnel on the ground is expected to reach 3,000, as authorized by President Barack Obama.

Some American forces are located at al-Assad airbase north of Baghdad, there to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribesman who have joined the fight against ISIL. 

In addition, there are forces training Iraqi security forces in Taji, southwest of Baghdad as well as in the northern Kurdish Iraqi province of Erbil. 

Kirby also touched on the anti-ISIL fight in Syria.

"There's not as much kinetic activity going on in Syria," he said. "Kobani still remains threatened, though in control by Kurdish forces, still remains threatened by ISIL. And as you know very well, we continue to conduct airstrikes in and around Kobani as we deem appropriate." 

He indicated that while the process to train and equip moderate Syrian fighters had not yet begun, progress was being made.

Without elaborating, he said a statement from Turkish diplomatic sources were "a good sign, a positive sign that things are moving in the right direction with respect to getting this train and equip program up and running."

 

Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2015, 10:14
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