U.S. military advisers continue to assist the Iraqi military as it works to free the city of Mosul from ISIS control. A U.S. spokesman for the joint forces has neither confirmed nor denied claims that U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi special forces have now entered the city.
"We're not going to verify the location of U.S. forces inside Mosul," said Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, notes Military.com. "We do remain behind the forward line of troops.”
On Nov. 16, it was announced Iraqi special forces units had entered the eastern portion of Mosul. The offensive against ISIS forces in the city began on Oct. 17.
"We do advise the [Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service units] ... we'll go where they need us," Dorrian added. "Our advisers are close by" and "they will most certainly defend themselves" if necessary.
"The advance is slow due to the civilians," Iraqi CTS Lt. General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi told Reuters.
ISIS has vowed to continue fighting and to increase its use of suicide attacks.
"We're giving you the good news that the number of brothers ready for martyrdom is very large and, with God's grace, the brothers who are demanding martyr operations are increasing," an unnamed ISIS commander told the group’s magazine, al-Nabaa, in an issue published Nov. 17.
The Iraqi military estimates ISIS has between 5,000 and 6,000 soldiers left in Mosul. The Iraqi-led coalition, which includes the Kurdish peshmerga and Shiite paramilitary forces, has pushed into the city with 100,000 units.
Philip Gordon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, highlighted the role of President-elect Donald Trump in the continued battle against ISIS.
“If by the time [President Barack] Obama turns it over to his successor we will have taken back most of the territory that ISIS held in Iraq, the task for the next administration will be to stabilize the situation,” Gordon stated. “Raqqa, in Syria, may be isolated or liberated by then as well. Obama will be handing over to his successor an ISIS that has suffered battlefield, ideological, and financial setbacks, and had its flow of foreign fighters diminished. The task for his successor -- still a big one -- will be to consolidate military gains and more inclusive politics in Iraq and to pursue a solution in Syria that ends the sectarian fighting that fuels ISIS.”