ISIS has had to rely on inaccurate mortar and rocket attacks in Mosul, along with commercial drones ferrying weapons across the Euphrates River to hit Iraqi forces that are preparing to liberate the western half of the city still held by the group. British Army Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Wednesday briefing that ISIS has a tight grip on the western half of Mosul after Iraqi Security Forces, supported by US and coalition airstrikes, liberated the East. About 750,000 people are under ISIS control in the western half of the city, and it will be a tough fight when the Iraqi forces decide to move in, said Jones. “Be under no illusion: The fight will not be easy,” he noted. “The tight streets and alleyways of the old city will be tough to clear, but the Iraqi forces have adapted to ISIS’ tactics and they will drive back the enemy whose finite resources wane with each passing day.” In the meantime, shops and schools have reopened in the liberated half of the city. Iraqi forces have been able to collect a “huge amount of material” to gather intelligence on ISIS. “And that material is being exploited at this stage by both the Iraqis and the coalition nations,” Jones 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.