More Trainers, Troops Needed Before Retaking Mosul

The US-led coalition has conducted 47 airstrikes in Mosul, Iraq, since Jan. 13, but still needs to add military trainers to build up Iraqi combat power to the point where it can liberate that city from ISIS, Army Col. Steve Warren said Jan. 20. “We know we will need more brigades to be trained, we’ll need more troops trained in more specialties” to retake Mosul, which is about four times the size of Ramadi, said Warren, the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, in a video teleconference from Baghdad. Warren estimated the coalition would need around eight trained brigades of about 3,000 troops each for the assault on downtown Mosul, and said Iraqi officials have asked for “additional enablers,” though that request was not specific or formal. Estimates on the number of fighters in Mosul varies from as low as 5,000 to as high as 10,000, though many are being forced to fight, Warren said. Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this month said the coalition has “big arrows” pointing at Mosul and Raqqah, though he stressed that “reaching and retaking Mosul will not be easy, and it will not be quick.”