Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the ground forces commander for the US-led coalition, told reporters on Wednesday that ISIS foreign fighters that are stuck in Mosul ‘can fight, surrender, or die’, since ISIS is completely isolated in Western Mosul.
However, he said a tough fight remains and that is difficult to say when the operation is finished. “What’s left is a tough fight, a complicated terrain,” he said. “But I assure you, the Iraqi forces are up to the task.”
According to the top US general, hundreds of civilians are weekly dying because ISIS is targeting civilians and using human shields.
“The more their military position worsens, so is their inhumanity,” the commander said about ISIS. “Two years ago, ISIS was at the gates of Baghdad, now the Iraqi security forces are about to capture the second largest city under ISIS, their leadership fled, and their days are numbered.”
Martin expressed concerns about the inhumane tactics of ISIS, exploiting the population, and destroying much of Mosul.
“The longer this fight goes on in Western Mosul, the civilians will suffer at the hands of a brutal enemy, that’s’ why ISIS has to be defeated quickly. ISIS is using civilians as human hostages, using indiscriminately VIEBDS, IEDS, and injured and killing innocent civilians,” he said. “They have fired 7,000 mortars indiscriminately against the population of Mosul.”
According to the US-led coalition’s commander, ISIS had two years to prepare for this battle and, as a result, the group has a lot of stockpiles. “They were well funded in the past, they see their supplies continuously dwindle, but I don’t think they are resupplied,” he said. “The supply volume you see, is because of the time they had to prepare for this in the east and west of Mosul.”
Furthermore, the general suggested the more ISIS gets weaker, the more civilians are going to be killed or used by ISIS. “But eventually West Mosul will be liberated,” he said.
So far, life in eastern Mosul is returning, and over 250,000 boys and girls are returning to eastern Mosul after schools were reopened.
“There has been no attack in east Mosul since 19 February,” he said. “The only thing since then that the enemy is firing hundreds, if not thousands of indiscriminate fire on the east side of the city,” he said.
“I’ve been doing this job for 31 years, and this is the best post liberated areas I have seen so far. This for two months after the liberation,” he said, praising the Iraqi government, the UN, and NGOs for providing services.
The top general said even if ISIS is defeated in Mosul, there is still a lot of fighting left in Iraq.
“But we will prosecute this fight, and attack them wherever they are,” he said. The general suggested that after Mosul, the Iraqi army backed by the U.S.-led coalition will focus on Tal Afar, Balaj, Ba’aj, Al-Hayer, Hawija, and down to the Euphrates valley river, and several cities on the route under al-Qaim. “So it’s a matter of time, and Iraqis will continue to execute their campaign plan,” he said. “And we will be right by their side,” he concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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