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Competent, Willing Partnerships Result in Gains Against ISIL

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2015 – The success of Kurdish forces battling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani is an example of what can be done with a reliable, willing and capable partner, the Pentagon press secretary said today.

A number of factors led up to yesterday’s announcement by U.S. Central Command that anti-ISIL forces now control about 90 percent of the embattled town, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.

“I think the airstrikes helped a lot. It helped when we had … a reliable partner on the ground in there who could help us fine-tune those strikes. That was certainly an important moment,” the press secretary said.

“It was an important moment when the Turkish government allowed resupply through Turkey to Kurdish forces inside -- resupply and actually additional resources in terms of manpower into Kobani. I think that was an important moment,” he said.

That said, the fight to retake Kobani isn’t over, the admiral said, and terrorist forces are still intent on taking the town.

The battle for Kobani shouldn’t be considered a template for future fights against ISIL, Kirby said. When Iraqi security forces move to retake Mosul, it may or may not result in a protracted battle, he said.

“I don't think there's any underestimation of how hard this is going to be. How fast it's going to go is going to depend on a whole range of factors. And oh, by the way, the enemy gets a vote here,” the admiral said.

“Every situation is going to be different, and Kobani's not Mosul, by any stretch, in terms of the scale, the size and the complexity of what that mission's going to be like,” the press secretary said.

Mosul is key terrain, Kirby noted, adding, “Eventually there’s going to have to be a fight for Mosul.”

“Obviously we're working closely with the Iraqi security forces on helping them better understand the challenges with respect to any kind of campaign in Mosul and making sure this is part of the train-advise-and-assist mission, to making sure that they are as battlefield competent as possible,” he said.

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews) 

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