Coalition: ISIS Traps, Human Shields Slowing Mosul Advance

The Iraqi and coalition advance into Western Mosul has slowed because of how well ISIS has dug itself in, and the group has been using civilians to shield it from airstrikes, the coalition said Wednesday. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said ISIS had “two years plus to dig in elaborate defenses” in Western Mosul, which have served to slow the advance of the Iraqi Security Forces. They are using snipers, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers, and human shields in the fight. And Western Mosul’s streets are small through dense urban areas, forcing Iraqi forces into a “channelized advance,” Dorrian said. “It’s very, very difficult,” he said, and it will “remain so for a while.” Every day, ISIS is losing fighters and “resources available to continue their mayhem,” he said. “Ultimately they aren’t going anywhere and they will be defeated.”