Iraq PM: No US combat troops to stay in Iraq after IS
- Author: Joey Payne May 14, 2017,
May 14, 2017, 3:08
In February, Lieutenant-General Stephen Townsend - the top United States commander in the country Iraq - warned that the U.S. military presence could continue even after the defeat of IS.
Just after dawn Thursday morning, Iraqi forces began a push along the northern edge of Mosul's western half where Islamic State group fighters are holding onto a cluster of neighborhoods, according to the spokesman for the ministry of defense.
USA officials have said the Iraqis are reluctant to advance farther without the global coalition's surveillance and air support to spot and soften up ISIS defenses ahead of them. That number dropped to 40,000 before complete troop withdrawal in 2011. The American military presence, however, never fully ended.
ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and is also known as ISIS, blamed US-led coalition forces for the air raid, according to a statement carried on its Amaq website.
The recapture of Mosul by the Iraqi security forces would deal a death blow to the "caliphate" IS proclaimed over large parts of Syria and Iraq almost three years ago.
"There is a general understanding on both sides that it would be in the long-term interests of each to have that continued presence", a USA official told the AP, on the condition of anonymity. Following February talks with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad, Defense Secretary James Mattis emphatically reaffirmed the ongoing strategic partnership between the countries, saying that he "imagine [d] we'll be in this fight for a while and we'll stand by each other". "That we agree on". Brig. Gen. John B. Richardson IV, a top USA commander in northern Iraq, has said officials fear the longer the battle drags on, the deadlier it will become, especially for civilians.
US Army Lieutenant Colonel James Browning, the partnered adviser to the 9th, said the militants had tried to keep some streets open in order to use suicide auto bombs.
Of the more than 120,000 people displaced from east Mosul, the ministry said only 42,000 were still in camps.
"The Iraqi government did not reach a deal with any country in relations to its military role with Iraq for the stage after the decisive victory over terrorism", the Iraqi government added.
Survivors of the airstrike have angrily denounced these claims as lies. The U.S. will have to remain cautious however, after ISIS previewed a tactic of baiting airstrikes on civilians in March.
Ali Zanoun, one of only two people to survive the strike on the house where more than 100 died, told the news agency that it had belonged to a local businessman who had sheltered a dozen families seeking refuge. "They melted. Not even a fingernail or a little bone found". The UN has said it believes that close to 420,000 people might be trapped in the densely populated Old City of Mosul. The US government is yet to issue a comment.
Iraqi forces were able to bring the Musharifa area under their control on Saturday, three days after they opened a new front against the extremist group northwest of the city.
Iraqi forces pushed further into Mosul from the north on the second day of a new push to speed up the almost seven-month attempt to dislodge Islamic State, commanders said yesterday.