02:04 GMT +324 July 2019
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    U.S. Army soldiers,Mosul, north of Baghdad, Iraq (File)

    'We Need Air Power': Iraqi Analyst Explains Why US Troops Head for Mosul

    © AP Photo / Maya Alleruzzo
    Middle East
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    On Monday the US announced its plan to send 560 more troops to Iraq, as Iraqi forces prepare an assault on the terrorist group Daesh in Mosul; Iraqi military expert Ahmad Akm-Sharifi told Sputnik that the US assistance is limited to airstrikes and won't include ground troops.

    On Monday US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the deployment of another 560 US troops to Iraq, as the Iraqi government plans to mount an assault on the terrorist group Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) in Mosul, northern Iraq.

    The US forces are expected to land at the Qayyarah air field, about 40km south of Mosul, one of the bases from which the Iraqis plan to attack Daesh forces in their last remaining urban stronghold.

    Iraqi military expert Ahmad Akm-Sharifi told Sputnik that the US forces will provide aerial assistance to Iraq government forces in their assault on Mosul.

    "As far as we are aware, the US forces in Iraq are carrying out an air operation, to support the Iraqi army from the air. That has been agreed. There won't be any (US) ground operation in Mosul," Akm-Sharifi said.

    In recent weeks, Iraqi forces have continued their advance on Mosul, which was overrun by the terrorist group in the summer of 2014 and is the largest city still under terrorist control.

    Akm-Sharifi said that Iraqi ground troops are building up the momentum to mount an assault on the urban area still held by the terrorists, but need aerial assistance.

    "In reality, regarding ground operations, the forces of the Iraqi army will be enough to combat Daesh. The Iraqi government and army have agreed on an action plan to combat Daesh with their own forces, and the US is aware of that."

    "But we need support from the air, including air power that our armed forces don't have," Akm-Sharifi explained.

    After retaking Tikrik in March 2015 and Ramadi in December 2015, Iraqi security forces and allied militia have made sustained advances against the terrorist group in recent months. 

    In June 2016 the city of Fallujah, 69 km west of Baghdad, was liberated by Iraqi forces, having been under terrorist control since January 2014. 


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