Within the course of a year, more than 13,500 members of the Iraqi security forces have been trained, and more than 700,000 civilians in Iraq have been liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), said Brigadier-General Dave Anderson on Wednesday.
Thousands of Iraqi Army soldiers, counterterrorism service soldiers, Peshmerga, federal police and border guards have been trained by the Global Coalition against ISIL, led by Canada’s Military Liaison Team (MLT) and the Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve (CJFT-OIR) partner force development effort.
In addition, coalition efforts have also focused on police training and recruiting tribal forces. More than 20,000 tribal fighters have been recruited and 5,000 local police who will be instrumental in protecting the newly liberated Iraqis.
“I wish to emphasize the great progress made by the Iraqi security forces over the last year. Through hard work and sacrifice, and with the support of the coalition, we have drastically improved the quality of their fighting effort and are steadily reclaiming their country,” said Anderson, leader of the MLT, to reporters from the CJTF-OIR headquarters in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Coalition forces are training Iraqi forces in using different warfare tactics and how to integrate infantry, armour, artillery, engineers, aviation and other combat multipliers “to achieve an overwhelming advantage at the right place and at the right time on the battlefield.”
ISIL, also known as Daesh, had taken many strategic locations including Euphrates River Valley from the Syrian-Turkish border almost to the edge of Baghdad Province to include the city of Ramadi.
However, over the last year, coalition forces have retaken several key areas and cities like Tikrit, Ramadi, and Fallujah.
Iraqi security forces and partners have also taken other strategic holds.
“Currently, the Iraqi security forces and partner forces in Syria, supported by the coalition, are applying constant pressure on Daesh across the length and breadth of the battlefield. The Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian-Arab Coalition have liberated Manbij and continue to pressure Daesh in the strategically important area of Northern Syria. Inside Iraq, the Iraqi security forces continue to push north of the recently liberated town of Fallujah in the Euphrates River Valley and are also liberating new areas in the Tigris River Valley as they move towards Mosul. Kurdish forces recently expanded their areas of control in Northern Iraq,” advised Anderson.
Anderson also commented on preparations for the retaking of the Iraqi city, Mosul, saying that the mission will be Iraqi-led and will commence when their forces are ready.
“I won’t speculate on when that might be. War moves at its own pace, and we prefer to surprise the enemy. As you know, the work being [done] by the Canadian advisors will contribute to the success of the Iraqi security forces when they liberate Mosul,” said Anderson.
Anderson took command of the MLT in March of this year. It now has a built-up base of a Canadian contingent of senior military advisors. The MLT is comprised of 12 advisors from eight countries: Canada, the United States, Italy, Great Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Germany.
The MLT works on advising and assisting at the military strategic level and ministerial level of the Iraqi security forces.
The MLT is working with the CJTF-OIR partner force development effort. Since its inception in 2015, the CJTF-OIR Iraq Train and Equip fund has used close to $1.6 billion to train and equip more than 26,000 members of the Iraqi forces.
Image: An Aviation Technician from the Long Range Patrol (LRP) Detachment marshals the CP-140 Aurora into position after a surveillance mission during Operation IMPACT in Kuwait on June 25, 2016.