No U.S. ground troops in western Mosul battles: Iraqi command reiterates

U.S. army forces participate in combat training in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, December 22, 2016. Picture taken December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Nineveh ( The Iraqi joint security command fighting Islamic State militants in Mosul has reiterated that U.S. forces are not taking part in ground operations against the extremist group, stressing that combat efforts are purely led by Iraqis.

Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Joint Operations Command, said Wednesday that all participants in the operations against IS in Mosul are all Iraqis, emphasizing that the role of U.S.-led forces from the international coalition against IS remains limited to training, intelligence and aerial support.

“We have advisers from the United States, the U.K., Australia and the rest of coalition member states, and their work is limited to backing our forces with airstrikes, intelligence sharing, training and equipment, all with the consent of the Iraqi government and under observation from the military leadership,” Rasoul stated.

“Those who plan and lead the military operations, those who advance against the enemy on the ground, are the sons of the Iraqi joint troops from all stripes,” he added.

The frequent affirmations by the Iraqi side that coalition troops play no role on the ground come against occasional reports citing coalition sources saying that foreign ground troops were gradually being pushed closer to the combat front lines rather than giving advice from afar.

It is the coalition’s vital airstrikes against IS in Iraq that has been publicized and credited by the Iraqi government since it launched a major offensive in October 2016 to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State fighters.

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