February 19, 2017
Release # 20170219-01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHWEST ASIA — On Feb. 19, the government of Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces announced the commencement of operations to liberate West Mosul from ISIS terrorists.
The battle for the complete liberation of Mosul cannot come soon enough for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens who for more than two years have suffered under ISIS oppression in West Mosul, during which time ISIS committed horrible atrocities and terrorized the people of Mosul.
“ISIS’s cruelty, brutality and reach show they are not just a threat in Iraq and Syria, but to the region and the entire world,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
Over the course of the past two years, and in particular these past four months in Mosul, the Iraqi Security Forces have proven themselves an increasingly capable, formidable, and professional force.
“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” said Townsend. “They have taken the fight to the enemy and sacrificed their blood for the people of Iraq and the rest of the world.”
The Iraqi Security Forces are standing fast against an enemy who employs ruthless means to hold onto power, to include the employment of suicide vehicles, improvised explosive devices, explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicles and chemical weapons.
“While ISIS indiscriminately targets civilians the Iraqi Security Forces continue to do everything in their power to protect the citizens of Mosul, of all sects and religions,” said Townsend. “They have shown all of Iraq how to be a unified nation.”
Over the course of the past two years, a coalition of more than 65 nations united to defeat ISIS. The Coalition contributes to the defeat of ISIS by providing the Iraqi Forces with equipment, training, intelligence and surveillance, precision fire support and military advice to leaders.
To date, the Coalition has conducted more than 10,000 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and trained and equipped more than 70,000 Iraqi forces to support Iraqi operations.
“The entire Coalition salutes and wishes God’s blessings on the brave Iraqi soldiers, police and militias who today are fighting to liberate their country and make the region and the world a safer place,” said Townsend.