As Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga launches a new offensive just east of the major ISIS city of Mosul, witnesses on the ground reported US troops loading into armored vehicles and heading eastward, toward the frontlines.The Pentagon refused to confirm where the troops were headed.
The Pentagon would only describe it as an “advise and assist operation to help Kurdish Peshmerga forces.” It is noteworthy that the troops warned reporters present not to take pictures, after similar pictures emerged of US troops embedded with Syrian Kurdish forces, sparking a row with Turkey.
The target of the offensive is a handful of villages along the main road between Mosul and the Kurdish capital of Irbil. The villages have traded hands repeatedly over the past few years, and while the Kurds claimed victory this time in just around 10 hours, a pushback seems inevitable.
US officials have been keen to back offensives around Mosul, with an eye toward eventually attacking the city itself, and recovering it for the Iraqi government. This offensive, however, is unlikely to have any impact on that, as again it is just the usual righting between ISIS and Peshmerga over some frontier villages.