The international US-led coalition against Daesh, dubbed “Operation Inherent Resolve”, has confirmed that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have temporarily halted their advance on Mosul, a claim Baghdad denies.
According to Al Jazeera, the coalition stated today that the ISF would be halting combat operations for two days in order to regroup.
Speaking from Baghdad, coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorian said: “We believe that [regrouping] will take two days before continuing the advance towards Mosul.”
“We continue to support [Iraqi forces] with airstrikes that target tunnels and [Daesh’s] command network,” Dorian said, adding that the coalition had dropped more than 2,500 bombs on Daesh targets since the operation to recapture Mosul began almost two weeks ago.
The coalition’s strike report for today confirmed that Western air power had conducted four airstrikes in Iraq, most of them targeting tunnels and command and control targets.
Meanwhile, the ISF’s media wing claimed that they were not halting any combat operations, but were instead continuing them and “will not stop until Ninawa is completely liberated…the axes are advancing according to plan and to the assigned schedule.”
These seemingly contradictory statements, both announced from within Iraq, show that coordination between the various factions involved in the fight against Daesh can be confused. This is due to the sheer number of actors on the ground, with almost 60 foreign nations, including the United States and Iran, supporting the Iraqi authorities.
Mosul is Daesh’s last major urban holding in Iraq which it has held since 2014. Baghdad launched a campaign to recapture the northern city almost two weeks ago, but has yet to reach the city limits in the face of a determined Daesh defence.