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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2016

Iraqis Hold Line Against ISIL, DoD Spokesman Says

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

In the past 24 hours, Iraqi forces maintained their defensive positions against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters on three sides of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, Pentagon press operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said today.

U.S. Soldiers assigned to Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division fire a M777 A2 Howitzer in support of Iraqi security forces at Platoon Assembly Area 14, Iraq, Dec. 7, 2016. Charlie Battery conducted the fire mission in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria.  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)
U.S. Soldiers assigned to Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division fire a M777 A2 Howitzer in support of Iraqi security forces at Platoon Assembly Area 14, Iraq, Dec. 7, 2016. Charlie Battery conducted the fire mission in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)
U.S. Soldiers assigned to Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division fire a M777 A2 Howitzer in support of Iraqi security forces at Platoon Assembly Area 14, Iraq, Dec. 7, 2016. Charlie Battery conducted the fire mission in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria.  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)
M777 A2 Howitzer fire mission
U.S. Soldiers assigned to Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division fire a M777 A2 Howitzer in support of Iraqi security forces at Platoon Assembly Area 14, Iraq, Dec. 7, 2016. Charlie Battery conducted the fire mission in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)
Photo By: Pfc. Christopher Brecht
VIRIN: 161207-A-MF745-070

ISIL has had control of Mosul for two years, and the Iraqis have cleared 15 to 20 percent of the city of enemy forces since the liberation of the city began Oct. 17, Davis said.

Also in the past 24 hours, Davis said, the U.S.-led coalition conducted five airstrikes, delivering 101 munitions. These strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units, four ISIL vehicles, four enemy mortar systems, four ISIL-held buildings, three rocket-propelled grenades, two vehicle-borne homemade bombs, two front-end loaders, a tunnel, a land bridge and a supply cache; damaged 13 supply routes; and suppressed three ISIL tactical units, he added.

Davis said the number of munitions delivered in support of the liberation campaign now totals 6,602. The airstrikes have destroyed 967 vehicle bombs, 111 tunnels, 274 vehicles, 280 bunkers, 20 anti-aircraft artillery systems and 224 artillery and mortar systems, he said.

Raqqa in Next Isolation Phase

Elsewhere in the campaign to defeat ISIL, the Syrian Democratic Forces have begun the third phase of the effort to isolate the city of Raqqa, a self-proclaimed ISIL capital in Syria. Many Arab citizens who have been liberated from villages around Raqqa are seeking to join the SDF’s fight against ISIL, Davis said.

An Iraqi soldier attending the Iraqi Noncommissioned Officer Academy fires his M16 rifle during live fire open terrain maneuver training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 10, 2016. This training is critical to enabling Iraqi security forces to counter ISIL and regain territory from the terrorist group. Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraqi and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Craig Jensen)
An Iraqi soldier attending the Iraqi Noncommissioned Officer Academy fires his M16 rifle during live fire open terrain maneuver training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 10, 2016. This training is critical to enabling Iraqi security forces to counter ISIL and regain territory from the terrorist group. Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraqi and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Craig Jensen)
An Iraqi soldier attending the Iraqi Noncommissioned Officer Academy fires his M16 rifle during live fire open terrain maneuver training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 10, 2016. This training is critical to enabling Iraqi security forces to counter ISIL and regain territory from the terrorist group. Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraqi and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Craig Jensen)
Open Field Manuever Live Fire Training
An Iraqi soldier attending the Iraqi Noncommissioned Officer Academy fires his M16 rifle during live fire open terrain maneuver training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 10, 2016. This training is critical to enabling Iraqi security forces to counter ISIL and regain territory from the terrorist group. Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve is the global Coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraqi and Syria. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Craig Jensen)
Photo By: Cpl. Craig Jensen
VIRIN: 161210-A-JA380-137
 “Thus far, the new axis has encountered very little resistance from ISIL,” he said, adding, “ISIL has mostly been turning and running as [SDF] have come in.”

The SDF have regained about 300 square miles since the isolation of Raqqa began early last month, Davis said.

In the past 24 hours, the U.S.-led coalition’s four airstrikes delivered 24 munitions against ISIL targets, which include three tactical units, a command-and-control node and five supply routes in support of SDF operations to isolate Raqqa, Davis said. The most recent airstrikes bring the total number of munitions in support of the SDF since Dec. 5 to 922, he added.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)