Mosul Mostly Cleared as Iraqi Forces Report First Day Without Casualties

Paratroopers, with Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, engage ISIS militants with precise and strategically placed artillery fire in support of Iraqi and Peshmerga fighters in Mosul. US Army Photo by Sgt. Christopher Bigelow

Brian Everstine

Iraqi forces on Tuesday did not suffer any casualties in Mosul for the first time since October, while coalition jets have not conducted airstrikes in the city for two weeks.

Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Thursday briefing that there have only been a “handful of direct fires” in Mosul and coalition aircraft have focused on other targets outside of the city.

The coalition on Thursday released a letter from Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of CJTF-OIR, to US troops and other personnel congratulating them on the liberation of Mosul over a “nine-month long test of wills.” The victory in Mosul is an important milestone, though there is more difficult work ahead, he wrote.

“Despite this milestone, our campaign is not over,” Townsend wrote. “ISIS still controls large swaths of territory across Iraq and Syria. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians remain subject to its brutality. Further, ISIS continues to plan and organize for future attacks on our homelands. We will not stop until we defeat this evil.”

Dillon said Thursday the coalition has taken major strides in combatting ISIS’s propaganda efforts online, including new social media strategies to encourage users to report ISIS posts. The coalition is reporting a 75 percent reduction in ISIS online propaganda through both online efforts and by taking out the group’s propaganda leaders.