Led coalition raid kills 13 Iraqi civilians in Mosul

Iraqi officers have said snipers have slowed them down in western Mosul in the biggest ground operation in Iraq since the 2003 US -led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. "This is something that is a despicable and cowardly tactic", he said. The eastern half of the city is now completely under the control of Iraqi security forces, Rasool said.

Iraqi forces with the backing of the US-led coalition, which has thousands of forces deployed in Iraq and carries out daily airstrikes, launched a major offensive to retake Mosul in October 2016. But the push against IS in Western Mosul is bogged down with Iraqi security forces fighting in a warren of small streets in the old part of the city.

He noted that there had already been some positive results for the people of Iraq as the fight against ISIS continued. ISIS has been encircled for "quite some time'".

More than 300 square miles have been cleared since west Mosul operations began mid-February, he said. "They are going to lose and the Iraqis will win". "Their ability and capability became stronger and more developed" since the jihadists shocked Iraqi security and intelligence forces with their lightning offensive in June 2104, says Mr. Hashimi.

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"It's very complicated", Martin said. The Iraqi counterterrorism service and federal police are pressing more deeply into the dense, urban terrain along the Euphrates River and the old part of the city, Dorrian said, while elements of the Iraqi army continue clearing territory to the north and west of the city center.

The spokesman said "incremental" to describe the slow, careful progress is simply "an accurate discussion of what's happening".

"In reality, it's very, very slow and very, very hard, and it's gut-busting, difficult fighting between our forces and theirs". It's very slow, it's very tough.

Any addition of more USA ground troops to Syria will likely be far more controversial now, as the U.S. attacked Syrian government targets just last week, and the administration continues to talk up the idea that further attacks could happen in the near future. "Prime Minister [Haider] Abadi's been very clear on that, and it's been an enduring principle of the campaign throughout".

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