Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants’ days in Iraq’s city of Mosul are “numbered” and the extremist group’s fighting capabilities are warning, the Pentagon said late Monday as Iraqi government forces continue successful advances to retake the city.
IS “has no ability to reinforce or resupply. We do believe their days there, [particularly] in eastern Mosul, are numbered and they are beginning to realize it,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis. “[ISIL fighters] are surrounded on all sides by a superior force they’re facing [in addition to] resistance from within the city, and they’re being bombarded daily by coalition air and artillery strikes,” Davis told reporters at the Defense Department.
He said fighters are currently attempting to cross the Tigris River, which bisects the city, on “planks” or “on foot”, after airstrikes by US-led coalition forces destroyed bridges linking both banks of the river.
“We’re seeing continued signs of ISIL fighters having loss of morale,” Davis said. “Many of them have not been paid in months; we’ve seen fewer [vehicle-borne homemade bombs] than we had previously in Mosul, and indications are that ISIL can’t respond to coordinated attacks on multiple axes.”
Iraqi forces, backed by US-led fighter jets, have been carrying out a major campaign since mid October to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the Islamic State’s last urban stronghold in Iraq.
Iraqi generals said recently they became in control over more than 70 percent of the eastern section of the city and are hoping to retake it entirely so as to move onwards to fight for IS’s western hideouts.
The conflict in Mosul has forced at least 169.000 people to flee to refugee camps, while hundred thousands are still stranded, being either used as human shields or shot at upon trying to flee, according to aid and human rights groups.