Iraq, US in talks to keep American troop presence after IS

In the western half, where an offensive began in late February, the 9th Armored Division - supported by US advisers, intelligence and precision strikes - swooped wide of the city to block the militants' main escape routes to Syria, recapturing the village of Badoush, before turning toward Mosul. Officials from Washington and Baghdad confirmed the talks to allow American troops to remain in several bases in Baghdad, as well as positions along the Syrian border and near the ISIS-held city of Mosul, the AP reported Thursday.

A depleted Iraqi force, coupled with the further emergence of Iranian militias could see the United States war against ISIS emerge as "a military win but potentially a strategic loss", Cafarella said.

Any forces who remained would continue to be designated as advisers for the same reason, the Iraqi government official had told the AP. Brig. Gen. John B. Richardson IV, a top USA commander in northern Iraq, has said officials fear the longer the battle drags on, the deadlier it will become, especially for civilians.

His troops had killed about 30 militants, destroyed five vehicle bombs before they could be used against them, he said. "We scan, we take a look, we make sure", Browning said.

According to Iraq Body Count, an independent monitoring group, USA airstrikes killed 1,117 people in western Mosul in March and April alone. In January, Iraqi forces announced that the city's eastern half had been "liberated".

Smoke is seen as members of the Iraqi Army clash with Islamic State fighters at a frontline in north west of Mosul, Iraq, May 5, 2017.

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The Iraqi army said on 30 April that it aimed to complete the battle for Mosul, the largest city to have fallen under Daesh control in both Iraq and Syria, by the end of this month.

The Obama administration formally withdrew U.S. forces, which at their highpoint numbered 170,000, in 2011.

U.S. military officials said they are more confident they can reach a SOFA agreement this time, but any potential deal is still riddled with uncertainties.

With regard to the progress in Mosul, the Iraqi Security Forces reduce the number of ISIS fighters with each passing day. He was referring to Islamic State by an Arabic acronym.

The IS blamed US-led coalition forces for the air raid, according to a statement carried on its Amaq website.

In October, the Iraqi army - backed by US -led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground - began a wide-ranging operation to retake Mosul, Daesh's last bastion in northern Iraq, which the militant group overran in 2014.

  • Sonia Alvarado