More than 5,000 US servicemen are embedding with other coalition fighters on the frontlines in Iraq.
Over 5,000 US servicemen, deployed in Iraq, are embedding with other coalition fighters on the frontlines, where the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has been taking control of key cities like Mosul, the RT news channel reported, citing US military officials.
“We have always had opportunities to work side-by-side, but we have never been embedded to this degree,” the Reuters news agency quoted the words of US Army Colonel Brett G. Sylvia.
As of August 2016, the coalition forces include over 25 nations, who are participating in Operation Inherent Resolve, but the main part of the troops still come from the US. Together these nations have been attacking the IS in Iraq and neighboring Syria since 2014.
“It’s a team effort,” Marine Captain Lou Murillo, who has been on the ground in Iraq, told reporters of the National Public Radio (NPR). “If we have intelligence, we’ll talk with them and make sure that we are both included on the approval process for it. And then we will send a request up to our higher headquarters, and they process the targets from there.”
The coalition troops have been moved to Mosul, where, according to reports of the Human Rights Watch non-governmental organization, terrorists have been “indiscriminately or deliberately killing and wounding people for refusing to be human shields.”
Iraq: ISIS Attacking Civilians in Mosul Retreat https://t.co/g5gS7Ipvxy
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) December 21, 2016
More troops have been deployed by the US Armed Forces in order to support the Iraqi security forces (ISF), allegedly only for “training, advising, and assisting” them.
Along with American troops, several thousand members of the Iraqi federal police have been sent from the southern outskirts to the eastern front in order to reinforce it. Together, the coalition is the largest force in Iraq since the initial US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
When US Army Colonel Steve Warren was asked whether the US troops in Iraq are engaging in combat with the coalition forces, he answered that they are only there to “simply shoot back if somebody shoots at them. They won’t kind of go off and conduct any type of mission on their own.”
However, according to the Pentagon, during Operation Inherent Resolve, aimed against the IS, the US has conducted 13,058 strikes, including 7,248 in Iraq and 5,810 in Syria, while 3,748 strikes, including 3,430 in Iraq and 318 in Syria, were carried out by the rest of the coalition forces.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ash Carter also suggested that the prospect of sending even more troops to Iraq seems likely, even if the IS is defeated.
“We’ll need to continue to counter foreign fighters trying to escape and ISIL’s attempts to relocate or reinvent itself. To do so, not only the United States, but our coalition must endure and remain engaged militarily,” Carter told the Fox News TV-channel.
In April of this year, US President Barack Obama told reporters that he expected Mosul to fall by the end of the year.
“My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” Obama told CBS News.