Iraqi special forces have entered the eastern city limits of Mosul, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Wednesday. The return of government troops to the city for the first time in two years “is a very important milestone,” Davis said, “but we know there’s much more work to be done.” Iraqi forces—including Iraqi Security Forces troops approaching from the south and Kurdish Peshmerga forces approaching from the north—have spent the past day improving defensive works and conducting back clearances of recently seized areas surrounding the city. The Iraqi “forces continue to maintain the momentum as they consolidate gains and move forward on all of their axes,” Davis said. Since the beginning of the Mosul campaign on Oct. 17, coalition forces have delivered over 3,000 munitions. (See also: Empty Racks, which will appear in the January issue of Air Force Magazine.)
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.