WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2017 —
Since the beginning of the fight to wrest back Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Iraqi security forces have accelerated the fight against ISIS and the will to drive ISIS evil out of Iraq grows every day, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve ground forces said today.
Army Maj. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of Joint Forces Land Component Command, updated Pentagon reporters on operations in Iraq via satellite from Baghdad.
“After Mosul, Iraqi security forces worked tirelessly to set conditions for successive offensive operations to rid this country of [ISIS’] ruthless and tyrannical ideologies,” he said.
They defeated the enemy in days with simultaneous operations in the north and west, the general noted, adding that now with a decisive victory in Hawija in the east, the Iraqi forces have proven capable of executing coordinated attacks and of amassing forces and establishing mission command of them.
Defeat at ‘ISIS’ Door
ISIS knows that defeat is at its door, White said. Their days are numbered, he added, and the Iraqi security forces have reclaimed 95 percent of the territory once controlled by ISIS. The enemy is collapsing and surrendering in record numbers, he said.
Lines of Effort
Iraqi commanders are looking to the future and seeing a secure Iraq under the Iraqi government’s control, the general said, noting that their success is a testament to the coalition’s well-coordinated strategy combining three main lines of effort:
— The coalition is enabling the military defeat of ISIS and has conducted more than 13,000 strikes in Iraq to support Iraqi security forces’ maneuvers. Forces take a little from ISIS each day, and coalition partners share in Iraq’s triumphs, White said.
— Maintaining the coalition is critical to the mission in Iraq. This includes relationships with senior Iraqi leaders and leveraging the strengths of all 23 nations serving together in the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command, he added.
— The coalition emphasizes planning for a long-term security posture that will ensure Iraq remains secure after the military defeat of ISIS, the general said.
Five training institutions are in place to build partner capacity, White said, and army and police capability grows day by day.
“Iraq is increasing in strength and capability,” he added. “Our task forces have developed solid partnerships, and the CJFLCC staff is wholly committed to supporting the Iraqi security forces as they liberate the remaining ISIS-held regions of this country.”
Iraq Security Forces: 7 and 0
“The Iraqis are winning,” White told the reporters. “To use a sports analogy, they’re 7 and 0, and [ISIS] knows it.”
The Iraqi forces have a few more fights on their hands in major population centers that they’re planning for now, and the coalition is all in with them, he added. “We’ve got their backs, we’ve got their support and we will continue to provide everything that we provided over the past 2.5 years for the future fight,” the general said.
White said ISIS is fighting for survival.
“The physical caliphate has been destroyed,” he said. “It will be finished off another part of the world here shortly, and they know they’re losing, they can see it coming, and they’re starting to run away, and they’re starting to ask for surrender, which is something you would not have seen a year ago.”
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)