Adding to the upbeat official assessment of the invasion of Mosul, Centcom chief Gen. Joseph Votel today told the press that he believes the forces involved have “probably killed about 800-900 ISIS fighters” in the past week and a half.
By contrast, Votel insisted that only 57 Iraqi troops were killed, and another 30 Kurdish Peshmerga. Unmentioned was a US soldier also killed in the fighting, embedded with the Peshmerga and killed by a roadside bomb north of Mosul.
It is difficult to get accurate information on ISIS casualties, and the official figures from Iraqi officials are almost always dramatically overstated in an effort to sell the war as a runaway success. There are reasons to be skeptical about the 800-900 figure, however.
The main reason is that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are still several kilomters away from the outskirts of Mosul, mostly occupying empty villages, and while ISIS has sent out some forces of skirmishers to slow their advance, it is believed the vast majority of their defensive forces have remained in Mosul, gearing up for the eventual attack and setting assorted traps.