U.S. Military: 'We're Seeing Younger (ISIS) Fighters, Perhaps Adolescent' in Mosul

By Susan Jones | December 9, 2016 | 9:04am EST
In this Oct. 24, 2016 file photo, Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces prepare to attack Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, outside Mosul. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

(CNSNews.com) - "Mosul is completely surrounded on all sides, and Daesh have no ability to resupply or reinforce their fighters," Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, told reporters on Thursday.

As a result, Dorrian said, the ISIS fighters are getting younger and younger -- "perhaps adolescent age."

"You know, they've had more than two years to prepare for this battle, so they have significant resources packed away within the city at various points, but those resources are finite and being depleted," Dorian said.

"And part of this campaign, one of the reasons why the Iraqi security forces are using overwhelming force and have completely encircled the city, is that they understand that as this effort goes on with each passing day, Daesh has fewer fighters and fewer resources at their disposal.

"We've already seen that some of their fighters -- unfortunately, we're seeing younger fighters, perhaps adolescent age, rather than adults. That's unconscionable on their part, but it is a long list of things that they do that are unconscionable."

Dorrian said ISIS is now planting improvised explosive devices inside "regular vehicles" instead of using armored cars that are much more difficult to stop.

"So, what that tells us is, they're beginning to run out of those resources. It doesn't mean that it's not still an extraordinarily dangerous situation. They are not going to go quietly, but they are going to go."

Dorrian would not say how may ISIS fighters have been killed or wounded since the battle to retake Mosul began one month ago.

"I would say many hundreds of fighters are gone. We don't release -- we don't release causality statistics and we don't consider them a measure of merit, but I can tell you that the enemy is taking very significant casualties, as difficult as they are making it for the Iraqi security forces.

"I can assure you that their fighters are being expended at a much faster rate than -- than are the Iraqis. It's still very, very dangerous fighting, it's very, very difficult, but, you know, eventually we're going reach critical mass where the enemy is going to begin to break and then things will start to accelerate."

Dorrian said coalition air strikes and artillery strikes continue to damage the enemy, by striking them on the battlefield, blowing up vehicle-borne IEDs, supply routes and excavating equipment.

"These strikes have been conducted to reduce the ability of ISIL to rotate forces, resupply, and use vehicle-borne improved explosive devices against the Iraqi security forces." Dorrian added that four of the five bridges across the Tigris River have been disabled.

On Dec. 7, the coalition conducted a precision air strike to take out ISIS fighters who were using part of a hospital complex in southeastern Mosul to fire machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at Iraqi security forces in the area.

"We don't take lightly any decision to strike a target that would normally be a protected facility," Dorrian said. "We've not seen any indications at this point that civilians were harmed in the strike," he added.

In fact, it's already happening: Today (Friday), separate bombings in Baghdad killed at least 10 people and wounded another 22.

The attacks mainly targeted civilians, the Associated Press reported.


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