Coalition Airstrikes Enable Gains Near Mosul

Iraqi and anti-ISIS coalition forces have steadily built up plans to take back Mosul from ISIS, and in the past several days, coalition aircraft struck the group’s positions near the city, enabling Kurdish forces to gain ground. After “precise and effective” air strikes on ISIS positions, Kurdish fighters seized three bridgeheads—considered strategic chokepoints for ground forces to move on Mosul—on the west bank of the Tigris River north of the city between Feb. 6 and Feb. 8, said officials with the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The strikes aided the maneuver of the Kurdish forces and “their successful attack” on these locations, they said. The Kurds are now holding this territory and are postured to take more in the areas around Mosul, they said. Coalition advisers are providing “operational and intelligence assistance,” said the officials. The operation shows how ISIS forces can be defeated by using a combination of ground forces “enabled by coalition aviation and advise-and-assist capabilities,” said task force Commander Army Lt. Gen. James Terry. The strikes came just days after the in-theater meeting of military leaders from 20 nations taking part in OIR, the US-led effort to eliminate the ISIS threat in Iraq, Syria, and the entire Middle East.