- Title: U.S. Navy steps up air support around Mosul
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: AT SEA (OCTOBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) FIGHTER JETS LANDING AT USS EISENHOWER FIGHTER JETS PARKED ON RUNWAY FIGHTER JET LANDING AT SEA (OCTOBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) USS EISENHOWER RUNWAY AND CONTROL TOWER CONTROL TOWER NAVAL OFFICER LOOKING THROUGH BINOCULARS IN CONTROL TOWER NAVAL PERSONNEL IN CONTROL TOWER CAPTAIN OF THE USS EISENHOWER, PAUL SPEDERO, TALKING WITH NAVAL OFFICER / WALKING THROUGH CONTROL TOWER (SOUNDBITE) (English) CAPTAIN OF THE USS EISENHOWER, PAUL SPEDERO, SAYING: "As we've seen in the past, anytime that we've engaged in air strikes in an urban area, it is very problematic. There are obviously lots of areas for the enemy to conceal themselves, there are areas where they can blend in with the civilian population, they can use infrastructure within that city to mask their intentions or to hide themselves." FIGHTER JET ON RUNWAY PILOT IN FIGHTER JET NAVAL OFFICER ON RUNWAY WEARING SKULL SCARF OVER FACE GIVING THUMBS UP ORDNANCE TRANSPORTED ACROSS RUNWAY RUNWAY NAVAL OFFICER ON RUNWAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) US NAVY LIEUTENANT AARON, SAYING: "Being up around Mosul, it's... it is a big city, it is a bustling city. You look down, I was there the other day, and there was a traffic jam. And you would think that there's a bunch of bad guys there and there'd be no traffic. But it's a bustling city, just like a city that we would have back home, it just so happens that the city is run by ISIS. So that presents a lot of tactical challenges, in terms of employing, there are bad guys mixed in with their families, with women and children that are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. None of us wants to kill innocent civilians, like, we go to great pains and lengths to make sure that does not happen." FIGHTER JET ON RUNWAY TAKING OFF PILOT IN FIGHTER JET FIGHTER JETS ON RUNWAY FIGHTER JET DIRECTED BY NAVY PERSONNEL / TAKING OFF NOSE OF JET / FIGHTER JET COMING IN TO LAND
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 08:56
- Keywords: USS Eisenhower Mosul Iraq Islamic State U.S. Navy fighter jets
- Location: AT SEA
- City: AT SEA
- Country: At Sea
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00154Y5VEV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS NIGHT SHOTS
Fighter jets are being deployed from USS Eisenhower in the Arabian Gulf to provide aerial support to Iraqi forces in the operation to retake Mosul from Islamic State.
The U.S. Navy is regularly coordinating with commanders on the ground in Mosul as air strikes become more dynamic striking Islamic State hideouts and fighter positions in the first few days of the operation.
With support from the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi government forces captured eight villages south and southeast of Mosul. Kurdish forces attacking from the north and the east also captured several villages, according to statements from their respective military commands overnight.
Captain Paul Spedero said Mosul was a challenging environment for the U.S. Navy.
"As we've seen in the past, anytime that we've engaged in air strikes in an urban area, it is very problematic. There are obviously lots of areas for the enemy to conceal themselves, there are areas where they can blend in with the civilian population, they can use infrastructure within that city to mask their intentions or to hide themselves," Spedero said.
Some 700 bombs have been dropped in Iraq and Syria from this deployment alone in the last few months. More ordnance was loaded on to fighter jets on Thursday (October 20) as various fighter jets launched to begin fresh missions.
Back from his mission, Lieutenant Aaron spent seven hours in the air, an average for pilots based at USS Eisenhower who usually fly daily.
He said the bustling city of Mosul presented "tactical challenges" for pilots. About 1.5 million residents are still believed to be inside Mosul, and Islamic State has a history of using civilians as human shields.
"There are bad guys mixed in with their families, with women and children that are just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Aaron said. "None of us wants to kill innocent civilians, like, we go to great pains and lengths to make sure that does not happen."
The fighting has forced 5,640 people to flee their homes so far from the vicinity of the city, the International Organization for Migration said late on Thursday.
Roughly 5,000 U.S. forces are in Iraq. More than 100 of them are embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, advising commanders and helping them ensure coalition air power hits the right targets, officials say.
However, the Kurdish military command complained that air support wasn't enough on Thursday.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None