Iraqi forces, bolstered by US-led coalition airstrikes, took over an ISIS chemical weapons facility at Mosul University last week. Coalition spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian said in a Wednesday briefing that the capture of the university destroyed a major capability by ISIS to create chemical weapons, and has given Iraqi forces a “treasure trove of information.” However, the coalition doesn’t know exactly how many facilities ISIS has to produce chemical weapons. The group has “done a lot of this type of activity,” and the university lab was a significant source of the weaponry, Dorrian said. Iraqi forces have liberated eastern Mosul from ISIS, and face a harsh battle to clear the rest of the city. Coalition aircraft are continuing to hit the city with airstrikes, including seven focused on ISIS headquarters, tunnels, vehicles, and supply routes on Monday. Weather issues have limited air strikes, with aircraft unable to conduct any strikes on Tuesday, Dorrian said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.