Iraqi forces battling IS enter militant-held Mosul airport

More American troops may be sent to Syria – US commander

More American troops may be sent to Syria – US commander

Much of this appears to be centered on the desire for the U.S. to capture the ISIS capital city of Raqqa, and their announced offensive against Raqqa began months ago, with Kurdish YPG forces leading the way, and hasn't resulted in much territory changing hands. Daesh was thought to have up to 6,000 militants in Mosul when the government's offensive started in mid-October.

The forces' spokesman, Ahmed al-Asadi, said on Wednesday that the villages being targeted are located southwest of the town of Tal Afar, still held by the Islamic State group.

The Pentagon has reportedly considered recommending sending conventional ground forces to Syria for the first time to augment special operations troops and local forces as the fight to retake Raqqa ramps up.

However, the possibility that United States troops will improve support for anti-government gangs by increasing firepower with artillery, mortars, and aviation is among other options discussed in the plan, which must be approved by President Donald Trump.

A auto bomb exploded near the advancing forces, killing three troops and wounding 14 others, al-Hussaini added. The officer, who also condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media, said his troops sustained at least a dozen casualties, but many were light injuries.

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Hamad Khalaf fled the Mamun neighborhood in southern Mosul with his wife and four children. A few meters (yards) away a mortar fired from inside the city hit a nearby hill. The battle for western Mosul, the extremist group's last major urban bastion in Iraq, is expected to be the most daunting yet.

"Around 450 members of the USA -led coalition are advising the Iraqi troops".

The streets are older and narrower in the western section of the city, stretching west from the Tigris River that divides Mosul into the eastern and western half.

Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014, along with large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

Instead, he raised the prospect of American troops providing logistics assistance and fire support in the form of artillery to Syrian opposition fighters, much as USA forces already do in Iraq - a nation with a more developed army of its own.

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