Says Fighting 'Very Complicated' Because of Civilian Presence
All reports out of Iraq indicate that the invasion force trying to take Western Mosul away from ISIS hasn’t advanced any meaningful amount in nearly four weeks, but US Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin today insisted that he believes the troops “continue to progress” toward the city’s “liberation.”
Martin conceded the invasion of the densely populated Old City was “very complicated” because of the large civilian presence, and that it would be hard to tell how long it would take for Iraqi forces to actually take the area, adding that some of the roads are too narrow to get military vehicles into.
That’s just one of many problems Iraqi invasion forces are facing, with only a very limited number of the troops trained for urban fighting before being sent into Iraq’s second largest city. The soaring civilian death toll has also hurt morale among Iraqi troops, and raised concern that the surviving locals won’t easily accept government rule if and when they ever conquer the city.
Martin insisted that the US has not changed its airstrike policy in recent weeks, however, despite huge international concern about the hundreds of civilians being killed in US strikes, blaming ISIS for “exploiting the human element” to make the US look bad.
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