U.S. forces erect 4 military bases in Mosul preparing for new combat plans

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

Baghdad ( U.S. forces have positioned in four districts in eastern Mosul to oversee the implementation of new combat plans as Iraqi forces become closer to retake that region from Islamic State militants, military sources say.

The bases were surrounded by tight security measures that deny access even to Iraqi troops and became under around-the-clock aerial watch as the Iraqi army’s Golden Division, a special operations force, prepares to carry out a newly-devised U.S. combat plan, an Iraqi army officer in Mosul was quoted by London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper as saying.

The districts chosen as location for the new bases were al-Quds, Saddam, Zohour and Gogjali, according to the officer.

Based on the new plan, the Iraqi forces are advised not to isolate or besiege several districts combined, but instead besiege and recapture one at a time.

Though displaced families from those districts were barred from returning home by Iraqi forces who feared attacks by Islamic State militants, the U.S. forces allowed the families to return, according to the source.

The officer added that U.S. forces rely on the Golden Division in liberating Mosul districts, having formed and trained that division after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He said “U.S. forces had made strict directives to those forces not to leave their casualties in the battlefield so as not to affect the morale of other forces.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S-led military coalition and popular forces, have been carrying out a major campaign since October to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city an Islamic State extremists’ last urban stronghold in the country.

Iraqi generals said recently they became in control over 90 percent of the city’s eastern section and hope to move later to recapture the IS-held west.

Iraqi government and military officials have reiterated that U.S.-led international forces in the battlefield had only practiced an advisory, rather than combat, role, but some news reports have told of occasional combat contribution by those forces.

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