Fallujah Fight Moving Quicker than Expected

The Iraqi offensive into Fallujah has moved much quicker than the US-led coalition expected, due to a combination of increased capability of the Iraqi forces and not as much ISIS opposition after an intense clearing operation. British Army Maj. Gen. Doug Chalmers, the deputy commander of strategy and sustainment for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said Iraqi forces are more than halfway through the city, and are “firmly” in the populous northern half. Once the city is cleared, Iraqi forces will still need to “back clear” and go back through areas. “We’ve still got a while to go,” Chalmers said during a Thursday briefing. “But it’s going to be far quicker than we probably had estimated.” Fighting to get into the city “was probably some of the fiercest I’ve seen,” Chalmers said, but the Iraqi forces have improved methods of working within its different groups, such as the counter terrorist forces and regular Army, and has worked closely with the coalition on gaining access to the city, he said. Coalition aircraft are largely providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to the fight, and are still conducting some strikes. US Central Command said coalition aircraft on June 22 conducted four strikes, hitting four tactical units and destroying seven fighting positions, among other targets. (See also: A Fierce Fight for Fallujah and Can’t Get No Satisfaction.)