US military claims killing 50,000 Daesh terrorists in Iraq, Syria
Iran Press TV
Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:36AM
A senior US military official has claimed that the the so-called "coalition" forces have killed 50,000 Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in the past two years throughout Iraq and Syria, pointing to a figure that is considerably larger than previous estimates.
The latest assessment by the unidentified official who, according to an AP report, spoke on condition of anonymity since he lacks authorization to publicly discuss the matter, even exceeded the 45,000 estimate announced in August by Lt. Gen. Sea MacFarland without pointing to how Pentagon had arrived at such assessment.
According to the report, US authorities have "expressed reluctance to disclose specific numbers" but assert that ISIL terrorists have been able to replace militants "rapidly."
The claim was made during an address to "a small group of reporters" in which the military official further stated that airstrikes by the US-led coalition "could be more aggressive in places like Mosul, where Iraqi troops are battling to retake the city, but civilian casualties are a risk," according to the report.
When asked for details, the official pointed to the presence of "enough [US] special operations forces currently deployed" in Iraq, but insisting that a key issue under consideration is what forces may be needed "to help the Iraqi troops hold Mosul" after Daesh terrorists are flushed out of the city, the report adds suggesting US plans to deploy additional forces to Iraq even after the looming defeat of the foreign-backed militants from the country.
The report also cites Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US military in Iraq, as suggesting that the current military campaign in Iraq is "reducing the numbers and capabilities" of ISIL terrorists.
"Unfortunately, we're seeing younger fighters; perhaps adolescent age, rather than adults," Dorrian added.
The development came as over 90 Iraqi soldiers perished Friday when US war planes erroneously bombed their positions near Mosul as government and volunteer forces were battling to flush Daesh terrorists out of the major northern city. Some 100 more Iraqi troops were also wounded in the so-called friendly-fire attack.
Iraqi army soldiers, pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units -- also known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi -- and Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched joint operations on October 17 to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists.
The advance of the Iraqi forces, however, has been slowed down due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians, many of whom are prevented by the armed militants from leaving Mosul.
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