Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Mattis: US, Coalition 'Steadfast' With Iraq for ISIS Defeat

Mattis: US, Coalition 'Steadfast' With Iraq for ISIS Defeat

Mattis thanked Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for his strong wartime leadership, which has enabled the Iraqi security forces to achieve victory in Mosul and set ISIS on a path to a lasting defeat, White said.

Government forces breached the city limits of Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq on Tuesday on the third day of a US-backed offensive to seize it back from Daesh militants.

Right before departing for Iraq, the Pentagon chief alleged that "ISIS (Daesh)'s days are certainly numbered, but it's not over yet and it's not going to be over any time soon".

On Monday, U.S. -led air strikes killed at least 42 civilians in several neighbourhoods in Raqa under IS control, according to the monitoring group.

"It appears more fractured, less robust, and sort of flimsy, is the word I would use", Croft said.

"Humanitarian assistance is being provided at assembly points to the south and east of Tal Afar town, with more than 300 people having passed through these points yesterday and receiving assistance", U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists on Tuesday. United Nations refugee spokesman Andrej Mahecic says conditions within the city reportedly are very hard, with food, water and electricity in short supply.

"As we get into the urban areas — as we saw in Mosul and Raqqa — that's where we'll see the pace slow down, that's where (IS) have placed their defenses", he said. "And their cruelty, though, continues to shine through as they hide among women and children and show no regard for non-combatants". Iraqi security forces were capable of carrying out simultaneous operations, he added.

In a related development, Police Lieutenant Khaled al-Naseri told Anadolu Agency that Iraqi forces now hold "more than 70 percent" of Tal Afar's southwestern Al-Jazeera neighborhood.

Mattis then left for Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish semi-autonomous region, where he is scheduled to hold a meeting with President Massoud Barzani. Iraq's Kurds have said they will hold the referendum on September 25 despite concerns from Iraq's neighbors who have Kurdish minorities within their borders and a USA request to postpone it. The Pentagon signed an agreement with Peshmerga forces past year to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and equipment.

The fall of Mosul effectively marked the end of the self-proclaimed caliphate Islamic State declared over parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014.

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