(U.S Department of Defense) Iraqi and coalition forces will learn from the civilian casualty incident of March 17 and continue to support Iraqi forces taking the fight to ISIS in Mosul, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford spoke to reporters enduring the return leg of his trip to Iraq. The general makes periodic trips to the region to chart progress in the fight against ISIS.
Dunford said Iraqi troops – especially the elite troops of the counterterrorism service – have made tremendous progress in the fight against ISIS in western Mosul. The fight against the terror group in that section of the city is different from the one that occurred when Iraqi forces liberated eastern Mosul, he noted. The fact that the Iraqi security forces are adapting their tactics against the enemy in the western part of the city shows how much they have developed, Dunford said.
In East Mosul, the city is more open, with wider streets, he explained. The Iraqi forces could use vehicles to their advantage, and more open areas made surveillance and targeting easier.
“West Mosul is much more crowded,” Dunford said. “It appears that ISIS is herding civilians into buildings and so forth and using them as human shields. Knowing that, Iraqis are looking at making modifications in current operations to mitigate the risk of civilian casualties and allow them to continue to make progress against ISIS.”