The main military force fighting to liberate the ISIS-held city of Mosul, Iraq, from the terrorist fighters who have held it since 2014 consists of the Iraqi government military and Kurdish Peshmerga troops, from the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq. But United States troops are on the ground fighting as well, and a dramatic new video surfaced Wednesday showing American soldiers in action.
Be warned before viewing the video — which appears to have been shot from a camera mounted on the helmet of one soldier — not only does it contain actual scenes from a live war zone, it also includes numerous uses of profane language.
The United States has more than 100 troops “in harm’s way” in the operation to retake Mosul, a Pentagon spokesperson said last week.
“They’re in a support role,” Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary said. “It’s fair to say there are Americans on the outskirts of the city. There was a plan for Americans to be providing that advisory role.”
But the troops in the above video appear to be doing more than “advising” their Iraqi counterparts. The video depicts a fierce gun battle with a a mostly unseen enemy of ISIS fighters. At one point in the video, a soldier is heard to comment that he felt enemy rounds flying directly over his head — adding at one point, “I can’t believe I didn’t get shot.”
Cook said that the U.S. “advisors” were mainly involved in marking targets for airstrikes, which are carried out by U.S. and coalition warplanes.
The American troops are based at Qayyarah Airfield, known to the troops as “Q-West,” about 40 miles south of Mosul. There are “less than 1,000” U.S. troops stationed there, according to coalition spokesperson Major Chris Parker.
In addition to coordinating airstrikes and processing intelligence information at Q-West, troops there also regularly fire artillery rockets at ISIS positions called in by the Iraqi forces moving toward Mosul, according to Washington Post Baghdad Bureau Chief Loveday Morris, who recently toured the base.
The soldiers there took Morris for a spin in armored vehicle designed to be resistant to roadside explosive devices, a leading cause of casualties and fatalities among all troops in Iraq. Morris posted the following video, recording her ride in the vehicle.
Coalition troops retook the airfield from ISIS in July, but had to spend weeks clearing away mines and booby traps left behind by the fleeing ISIS militants, according to a Reuters report.