Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve tasked with engaging ISIS, briefed the Pentagon on Wednesday about continuing operations against ISIS around the globe.
Colonel Dorrian did not mince words, stating plainly that the ISIS fighters holding out in pockets of Iraq’s second largest city have “only two options” as coalition forces close in.
“The enemy is completely surrounded in West Mosul, and those who do not surrender to the Iraqi security forces will be killed there,” Dorrian told reporters after his briefing.
Dorrian went on to discuss the tactical advantages coalition forces have over their extremist opponents in Mosul. Iraqi security forces are advancing on ISIS positions as coalition air strikes continue to bombard enemy targets there and in the surrounding region to cut off intel and supply lines and prevent them from being reinforced. Meanwhile, the 16th Iraqi Army Division remains in East Mosul to maintain pressure on any remaining pockets of ISIS fighters and to prevent aid from reaching fortified ISIS positions in the west.
The colonel also addressed ISIS’ continued campaign of indirect fire into the Coalition held Eastern portion of the city from their remaining positions in the west. ISIS has been firing mortars and artillery into East Mosul since it was liberated by coalition forces, and recently they even began dropping improvised explosive devices from commercial drones onto Iraqi security forces and even civilian targets. The colonel agreed that these tactics make for effective propaganda, but dismissed their tactical value in the ongoing fight.
“Although dangerous and effective as a propaganda tactic, this has limited operational effect on the battlefield and will not change the outcome or significantly delay the inevitable,” he said.