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NEWS | Oct. 12, 2016

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Col. Dorrian via teleconference from Baghdad, Iraq

By CJTF-OIR Public Affairs

CAPTAIN JEFF DAVIS:  J.D., just want to make sure you can hear us and that we can hear you.


COLONEL JOHN DORRIAN:  I've got you loud and clear, Jeff.




Thanks, and welcome back, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm very sorry for the technical delays today.  I know that that is your time, and we apologize for consuming of your time.


We are doing this by phone today, unfortunately, due to technical problems.  But pleased to be joined by Colonel John Dorrian, who is with us from Operation Inherent Resolve in Baghdad.


And J.D. we'll turn it over to you.


COL. DORRIAN:  Thanks a bunch, Jeff.


Team, very sorry for -- very sorry for the technical problems.  We'll go ahead and get started with a short statement, then I'll go ahead and take your questions.


So, in northern Syria, along with our NATO ally Turkey, coalition advise and assist missions are ongoing with our local partner forces.  These forces are making progress toward defeating Daesh forces operating along the Mara line.  Since the start of Operation Noble Lance, this operation, these partnered forces have liberated 254 square kilometers of ground, to include the people in 37 villages in that area.


An update on Manbij.  Since liberation of the city on August 12th, the displaced have started returning in very large numbers.  Approximately 70,000 people now reside in Manbij, although 125,000 lived in Manbij before Daesh invaded.  More than 3,000 families have benefited so far from efforts to distribute humanitarian aid, and efforts on ongoing to continue removing Daesh booby traps and IEDs.


Of note, Daesh emplaced a significant number of explosive hazards in the schools and schoolyards, and nearly 100 explosives have been removed, transported to a safe area outside the city, and destroyed.  Unfortunately, before this work could be done, there were three casualties to Manbij residents caused by explosives in these school areas.  Of the 45 schools in the city before Daesh arrived, seven were completely destroyed and another seven partially destroyed.


In Iraq, the Euphrates River valley, at star two.  The ISF has successfully attacked the enemy on multiple fronts to remove them from the eastern side of the Euphrates north and south of Hit.  Within the past few days, the ISF completed clearance operations along the Euphrates River valley, connecting their northern and southern forward battle lines with about 230 kilometers of contiguous cleared area between Baghdad and Haditha.


Clearing this area takes pressure off the ISF to defend multiple fronts in the ERV, and it helps protect Ramadi, Fallujah and Baghdad from Daesh attacks as the battle for Mosul is waged.  This also increases pressure on Daesh, who have shown significant signs that their supply shortages and the dismantling of their command and control across Iraq leave them incapable of stopping the ISF from advancing.


Continuing to pressure the enemy along the Euphrates River valley is very important to the overall security of Iraq and we'll continue a relentless campaign of strikes to keep the enemy on the back foot as the ISF continues clearing.


Along the Tigris River valley, shaping operations and planning for liberation of Mosul, at star three, are ongoing.  The size of Mosul makes this by far the largest task the ISF has undertaken to date, an order of magnitude larger than the liberation battles in cities like Ramadi, Fallujah and Sharqat.  Nearly all of the 12 Iraqi brigades the coalition is training have completed their instruction.  The last brigade will finish in the next couple of weeks.


The government of Iraq is working with the U.N. and non-government organizations to plan for the internally-displaced persons that may flee the fighting in Mosul.  The government of Iraq is directing 20 internally-displaced person camp sites and is working with the U.N. and NGOs to pre-position resources to take care of IDPs.


Coalition planners are attending those meetings and assisting the ISF with their planning efforts.


During the recent liberation of Sharqat, the local residents remained in their homes, rose up as the ISF advanced and helped push Daesh out of the city.  It remains to be seen what will happen in Mosul, but Prime Minister Abadi did reach out to the Mosulalis via a radio address to announce the pending liberation of Mosul and to ask residents for their cooperation with security forces.


Finally, we've seen several reports about ISIS use of commercial off-the shelf drones, including instances where they've used these capabilities to deliver explosives.  It's a threat that's not new to the area.  This happens fairly commonly with regard to surveillance.  My predecessor acknowledged that the enemy has used UAS devices to surveil and even deliver ordinance.


So the coalition has been working this issue hard for some time in concert with the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, JIDO, the U.S. Army, OSD and others.  To supplement the capabilities already in theater, a system called Drone Defender, additional advanced systems have been sent that are capable of detecting, identifying, tracking and defeating UAS threats.


In the interest of operational security, we'll not discuss the details of those systems or the locations and the current status of them.


Now, I'll be delighted to take your questions.


CAPT. DAVIS:  We'll start today with Joe Tabet from Al Hurra.


Q:  Thank you, sir.


I would like to start by asking you, Colonel Dorrian, are you concerned about the tensions between Turkey and Iraq?  And do you see any potential delay for the operation in Mosul because of these tensions?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, planning for the -- the liberation of Mosul continues.  What I would say is that there are diplomatic efforts ongoing to address that, and it's probably best you direct your questions to the State Department about the status of those discussions.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next we'll go to Kasim Ilery with Anadolu.


Q:  Hi, colonel.  Turkey is saying that they are going to join the fight for Mosul, but as much as we understand from the coalition and also from the Iraqi government, they don't want Turkey to take part in that operation specifically.  What's your assessment of that?  Will -- how will Turkey take part in Mosul operation?  Or yeah will it take part?


COL. DORRIAN:  Yeah, what we would encourage is continued diplomatic efforts to resolve this matter between Iraq and Turkey.  And again, I would advise you to follow up with the State Department for the status of that -- that discussion.


Q:  Just a follow-up, TKK is also saying that they are going to join the fight in Mosul against ISIS.  What's your assessment of that Colonel?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, what I would say is, any group that wants to fight Daesh should do so only in coordination with -- and it's with the permission of the government of Iraq.  If you wanna fight Daesh in this country, you should coordinate your activities with the government of Iraq.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next, to Thomas Watkins of -- (inaudible) -- Press.


Q:  The Sunday Times in London had a report saying that RAF Tornadoes are now being equipped with air-to-air missiles and have been given the go-ahead to shoot down Russian jets in Syria if they feel in danger.


I was wondering if you could help me understand please, what the current status is of -- of U.S. jets.  Are they equipped with air-to-air missiles?  And what the authorities are for them to engage with any Russian aircraft in -- in -- in such an event?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, you know what, really this doesn't have anything to do with fighting Daesh and that is what the coalition is here to do.  We do continue our coordination for de-confliction with the Russians.  Those efforts are ongoing and nothing's changed on that.  So it's sort of a “what if” scenario and really not something that I would get into with you.


Q:  Did -- but it's not directly related to fighting Daesh but nonetheless, there are U.S. and Russian planes in similar airspace over Syria.  And you could easily see a situation where an anti-Daesh operation would kind of overlap with the Russian operation.


So my question again, is like what -- what security measures do the planes have?  Do they have -- are they equipped with air-to-air missiles or is that under review and can you just tell me what the phases would be?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, what we do is we coordinate all of our efforts through the de-confliction process that we've described many times.  We have a direct line with the Russians to de-conflict our efforts.  So, I -- I -- I don't accept the premise that you discussed, that there could be some kind of a conflict.  This has become something that's you know, an ongoing process.  We continue to work it everyday to continue to maintain safety of flights.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Okay next to Tom Bowman with NPR.


Q:  Colonel, I wonder if you could tell us what you're seeing inside Mosul now that the effort to retake the city is imminent?  Are you seeing any more creation of defensive positions, a creation of car/truck bombs, movement of population?


What are you seeing?  And also, anything new maybe you haven't seen before?


COL. DORRIAN:  Thanks, Tom.


What we're seeing now is -- is kind of a lot of what we've been seeing up until then.  There's -- Daesh has been there for two years, they've done very elaborate defenses.  They have fighting positions, they have tunnels.  And what we do is we try to shape the battlefield to the extent that we can in order to set conditions for the Iraqis to go in there.


So whenever Daesh continues to build fighting positions, whenever we're able to attack those with precision in order to avoid civilian causalities, we do so.  This is a part of our -- our battle rhythm to go against fighting positions, and at the same time, we continue to attack leadership figures whenever they can be found in Mosul.  So those efforts are ongoing, as well.


We believe that we can create some pretty disruptive effects to Daesh command and control in the city.  But all these things have been ongoing for some time.  Certainly they'll intensify as the efforts for the Iraqis to liberate the city begin.


Q:  Biggest challenge would you say going into Mosul?  Is it the urban environment?  Is it hundreds of thousands of civilians?  What keeps you guys up at night?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, anytime you're looking at a -- an urban warfare scenario, you're looking at a lot of opportunities for the enemy to do things like hide behind civilians, hide behind internally-displaced persons, and attempt to slip out with them.  You -- again, they've had an opportunity to dig some pretty elaborate defenses and put up a lot of booby traps.


All these things cause delays and challenges, but they're also things that as we train the Iraqis to go into Mosul, a lot of them have received specialized training like explosive ordnance disposal, sniper training, breach training, and there have been warfare trained so they know how to clear buildings and all these sorts of things.


So, we believe that the Iraqis are well positioned to be successful and of course we'll be there with our strikes so that as the enemy becomes evident, we'll strike them and help the Iraqis advance.


Q:  Very quickly, I would imagine as in Ramadi, you're relying heavily on Iraqi Special Forces to be the vanguard for this effort?


COL. DORRIAN:  On many of these occasions, you see the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, the CTS -- often they take a leadership role in -- in an advance on the city, but the Iraqis are still finalizing their battle plans.  I'd refer you to them for the details on that.  I do know the CTS will be involved, though.  At least, that's what I've seen.


CAPT. DAVIS:  All right, next we'll go over to Gordon Lubold with Wall Street Journal.


Q:  Hey, Colonel Dorrian, let me just try this again, quick as I could on the Mosul op.  I mean, just militarily speaking, is there reason to think that this rift between the Ankara and Baghdad could pose a problem in terms of launching the operation?


COL. DORRIAN:  Right now, we're not making any plans to change the plan, if that's what you're getting at.  The Iraqis continue their planning efforts to liberate Mosul.  Those diplomatic efforts are ongoing between Iraq and Turkey.  And that's really about where this whole discussion is.


Q:  So it doesn't concern -- the, the diplomatic rift does not concern you guys from where you sit?


COL. DORRIAN:  Nope, we're a military organization and we stay focused on military tasks.  So, all the strikes that we've been doing, all the training we've been doing, all the advising and assisting with things like logistics, all those elements are being put in place to support the Iraqi advance when they're ready to do it.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next to Tara Copp with Stars and Stripes.


Q:  Thanks.


Colonel Dorrian, a couple of clarification questions.


You know, over the last couple of months, in the fight against ISIS, we've heard about Turkey's role, its contributions.  So, I just wanted to get an understanding of what Turkey has contributed and is maybe still contributing right now to the fight against ISIS specifically in Iraq?  And, then I have a couple of other questions.


COL. DORRIAN:  Yes, with regard to Turkey's role in Iraq, I think where the discussion is is in the diplomatic area.  So they've been tremendously helpful in Syria in securing their southern border and the northern part of Syria.


So that has a gigantic effect on the security of Europe and the world, because it reduces the ability of Daesh to send fighters out of Syria into Europe.  But as far as the role in Iraq, that's the subject of the ongoing diplomacy.


Q:  They haven't had a military coalition contribution in Iraq?


COL. DORRIAN:  No.  Not as a part of the coalition, no.


Q:  And a couple others, on Mosul, with what you're seeing.  Are you seeing any movements of ISIS fighters in and out of the city still or has most of that been choked off?


COL. DORRIAN:  There are fighters that are moving in and out of the city in small numbers.  So they don't have the ability to move out in large columns or convoys or that sort of thing.  But they do still, you know, have the ability to move our in single digits.  You know, with backpacks and that sort of thing.  That's not -- that's a trickle, not a flow of fighters.


Q:  So are you estimating that those aren't really senior leader movements or how -- high value target movements?  As they're just individual fighters?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, they're individual fighters, but I think -- you know, as to who they are, if we knew that with that much fidelity we probably would have struck them.  So we continue our work to track and strike leadership figures.  And that, you know, a business that I can't really get into detail about the status of our tracking.


Q:  One last one.  Back on the coordination calls -- the deconfliction calls, when was the last phone call with Russia to deconflict airstrikes?  We heard about one that was probably a week ago Monday, but haven't heard anything more recent.


COL. DORRIAN:  Yes.  You know what?  As far as calls to keep deconflicted, I haven't checked to ask when the last call was.  But my understanding is that this is a routine thing and they do them on a daily basis.


Q:  So that is a take back or a take away?


COL. DORRIAN:  You lost me, I'm sorry.  I'm not sure I understand the question.


CAPT. DAVIS:  She’s asking for a takeaway on that one.


COL. DORRIAN:  I -- I couldn't hear that, I'm sorry.


CAPT. DAVIS:  J.D., I think she was asking if you would take that as a question.


COL. DORRIAN:  Very good, certainly.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next we'll go to Ryan Browne with CNN.


Q:  Hello, colonel.


I just wanted to follow up on this drone activity by ISIS.  I know you said it's relatively common and you described it as being off the shelf.  Did that mean that ISIS is not building these things, that they were already in Iraq when they kind of took over?  Or -- you know, could you explain a little bit more that -- the off-the-shelf element of that?


And can you also confirm reports that one attack did injure some coalition personnel and some Peshmerga fighters?


COL. DORRIAN:  Yes, I'll -- I'll address that part first.


We don't get into the business of confirming the -- the casualties of other nations.  We just can't get into that business.  So, apologies, I can't help you with that.


Now, with commercial off-the-shelf, we've seen the enemy use a variety of drones and improvised drones and modified drones.  So some of those are just, you know, quadcopters and that sort of thing.  We've seen them use, you know, items that you can just buy.


So these aren't -- there's nothing very high tech about them.  They can just buy those as anybody else would.  Those -- some of those are available on Amazon.  So I don't know exactly how they get them, but they're routinely available.  So, you know, they can order one just like anybody else can.


Q:  Okay.  And just on a separate note, just to follow up on this.  I know you're not really welcoming these Turkey-Iraq rift questions.  But one of the issues that's been talked about is the stabilization force and the makeup of that once, you know, Mosul is liberated.


And I believe that, you know, the fighters that Turkey is training, the idea was that they become some kind of policing force.  Is the makeup of that stabilization force after Mosul is liberated, has that been determined yet?  Or is it still being debated?  And does the coalition have any say on that?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, one thing that's not up for debate is that the makeup, the disposition of that force will be determined by the government of Iraq.  So, that piece of it is their decision to make.


Now, my understanding is that they plan to use tribal forces and police forces that have been through coalition training as the hold force and a wide-area security force.  I haven't heard of any changes to that game plan.  And again, that's an Iraqi decision.


Q:  Thank you, sir.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next to Laurent Barthelemy with Agence France-Press.


Q:  I wanted to know if you could share some details on what happened with the drone incident, for instance, can you -- can you confirm that the drone exploded while it was inspected after being shot down?


COL. DORRIAN:  Yes, I can.  I can confirm that -- that that is what happened.


Q:  Okay.  Can you say how it was shot down?


COL. DORRIAN:  No, I can't get into that kind of detail with you.  I'm sorry.


Q:  Okay.  Just another follow- up, if I may.  Do you think the ability to put -- to build some flying IEDs has a significant impact for --for the security of the coalition troops?  Or is it merely a trifle?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, I would say there's probably a middle way.  And by that, what I mean is the implications of this are certainly not an existential threat and not something that's militarily significant in that it's going to stop anything that needs to happen from happening.


The Iraqi security forces at a timeline of their choosing are going to go into Mosul and they're going to be supported by coalition forces.  That is going to happen regardless of this threat.


Now, that said, we don't just let the enemy develop a capability that threatens our forces and those forces of our allies and partners and leave that threat unaddressed.  So, we've moved some additional capabilities into position and we will go after those capabilities whenever and wherever we see them.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next, we'll go to Richard Sisk with


Q:  Hi, colonel.  In reference to the drones again, have you seen them over U.S. coalition bases?  Have U.S. coalition forces taken any action against them?  Have you shot any of them down?


COL. DORRIAN:  Yep. We have seen -- we have seen them over coalition bases, we've seen them over Iraqi bases.  Again, it's -- it's a threat that we've seen, you know, developing for some time.  My predecessor discussed it and -- and is something that we've -- we've seen a fair amount of.


Now, most of these are just surveillance and not, you know, dropping of ordinance or -- or this latest sort of Trojan horse-style attack.  So it is something that we see.  We have engaged some of them with some of the capabilities that we have.  Both we and our partners and have shot some of them down.


So it -- this is something that we're seeing on the battlefield.  Again, that's why some additional capabilities are being brought in, so that we can make sure that we're decisively addressing those threats.


Q:  And can I follow --




Q:  Colonel, do you have contact -- does CJTF have contact with the -- with the Turks at Bashiqa?


COL. DORRIAN:  I don't believe so, because the -- the Turks at Bashiqa are not there under the auspices of the coalition presence.  That's a national -- a national effort, not a coalition presence.


I don't know that definitively, though.  So let me -- let me ask that question and owe you -- owe you that as an answer.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next we'll go to Kristina Wong with The Hill.


Q:  Hi, colonel.  Thanks for doing this.


A couple of questions.  How many civilians are estimated to be in Mosul right now?


COL. DORRIAN:  Kristina, the -- a ballpark estimate is about a million.  It could be -- you know, there's a fairly -- a fairly wide range, though.  It could be up to 1.3 million.  I've -- I've seen numbers from one million to 1.3.


Q:  Thank you.  What -- what will defeat of ISIS in Mosul look like?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, what -- what it looks like is a secure city, one that's not threatened daily with Daesh improvised explosive devices and terrorist attacks.  It's one where Daesh has little to no presence.  It's one where normalcy is restored.


I think that's going to take some time, because Daesh has been there for more than two years and they've loaded the city with improvised explosive devices, booby traps, tunnels, all sort of things.  And you know, given the size and scope of that city, it's going to take some time to restore normalcy there.


You know, and this really kind of gets to a larger question.  You know, a lot of people have talked about, you know, the Mosul operation starting as if that means that once we start that, ISIS is going to be removed.  We believe that it's gonna be quite some time before this country is completely Daesh-free.


So the liberation of Mosul is a very important task, but there's still going to be quite a bit of work to be done after that in reestablishing stability in Mosul, in pushing Daesh out of all the other areas of the country where they have a significant presence, places like Talafar and al-Qaim and other places along the Euphrates River Valley closer to the Syrian border.


Still quite a bit of work to be done, and as we've seen, they are an adaptive and determined enemy, so we're going to have to continue to keep them under constant pressure until they're gone.


Q:  (Inaudible) be months.  What do you expect ISIS will do after the fall of Mosul, fortify their presence in other places, leave Iraq and get -- go into Syria?  What are -- you know, try to target other places like Baghdad and -- what do you expect for ISIS to do?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, we've already seen sort of a precursor to that, Kristina.  And what that is, is you know, as you know, Daesh have statehood aspirations.  They have said and they've declared Mosul to be the capital of their caliphate.  Well, once Mosul is liberated, and that is shown to be a farce, what we will see is Daesh reverting back to what they really are, which is a terrorist organization and perhaps an insurgent threat.


And what that means is we can expect them to continue to, you know, conduct terrorist-style attacks in order to try and prove their relevance.  We've seen them continue to do propaganda, although a lot of that propaganda has been trailing off for a variety of reasons, including the fact that many of those responsible for the propaganda are no longer with us.  And it's very difficult for them to maintain any type of farce as if living under Daesh rule is a good thing because the places where they're in charge, they're under constant pressure and they've wrecked the place and they're under a lot of pressure from strikes.


And so, it's not very easy to produce the type of propaganda that they were producing early on.  So we think that they'll continue to recycle a lot of that old footage into new products.  We've already seen them change the name of their propaganda magazine because we think that they're probably going to lose the city for which their previous magazine was named, Dabiq.


And essentially, they're going to revert to form.  They started off with a lot of linkage to -- and really as Al Qaida in Iraq and reconstituted and then turned into this newer threat.  And what we're going to see is them reduced back into a lower level threat.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next we'll go to Luis Martinez with ABC News.


Q:  Hey, John.  Two questions.  One on Dabiq that you just mentioned.  How is the Turkish advance towards that city going?  And how many U.S. forces are accompanying them and -- as a train, advise and assist mission?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, I can't give you any insight into the number of U.S. forces that would be involved in that because we don't discuss the disposition or details of our forces in Syria.


But what I can say, those numbers that I gave in my statement about the 37 villages in the 254 square kilometers that is in the area of Dabiq.  So, you know, the Turkish forces, their partnered forces, and coalition forces are operating in that area.  They're having a lot of success against Daesh, and you know, really, it's only a matter of time.


Q:  The other question is about Iraq.  Are all of the U.S. --the additional forces that were announced with the FML increase a while back, are they all in country now?


COL. DORRIAN:  Not all -- not all, but most of them are.  Right now, let's see, we're at just short of 5,000 and the FML is 5,262.


Q:  Thank you.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Next, we'll go back to Kastia Mallary.


Q:  Colonel, we are hearing from the Shia groups, the PMF is threatening against Turkey, Turkish forces in Mashuka, and also we know that Turks have trained more than 3,000 Sunni tribes in that camp.  To what extent militarily you are concerned that the kind of conflict between these Shia groups and those Sunni tribal forces or the Turkish forces in that area create a gap within the chain encircled Mosul currently?


COL. DORRIAN:  Yes, with regard to the forces that are surrounding Mosul and preparing to go into Mosul, the determination about who's going to do that is going to be made by the government of Iraq.  So, all of these forces, the Popular Mobilization Forces, the government of Iraq is in charge of all those forces and they'll the determination, what those forces do.


Q:  To what extent you are concerned that some of those PMF forces would somehow turn their, you know, guns to the Bashiqa camp, and then create some kind of a gap within the circle -- the chain that you encircled around Mosul?  That's what my question is.


COL. DORRIAN:  So, really, what you're asking is kind of a hypothetical question, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to speculate about what some other service might do; what other -- some other organization or actor might do.  I can tell you that we're working very closely with the government of Iraq to make the determination and to help them, and support them as they get ready to go into Mosul.  And I do know that they're working closely with all of these groups, including the Popular Mobilization Forces on what they're role is.


Q:  So just -- just a last trial.  So, you are confident that none of those groups are going to focus on anything other thing but for Mosul operation to clear Daesh inside Mosul, is that right?


COL. DORRIAN:  Yeah, what I would say is, all the determinations about what forces are going to do in the -- in Iraq will be made by the government of Iraq.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Did you have a follow-up there, Laurent?  You didn't?


Q:  I would have to come to this drone incident.  I -- I think you have said that little drones have already been used as weapons by ISIS.  But are you aware of any casualties on coalition forces or friendly forces or is it the first -- the first time that there are causalities because of such a drone -- a little drone?


COL. DORRIAN:  I've seen the same reports that you have about some of the -- some of the forces being hurt by them.  I can't verify those facts and figures and it would be inappropriate for me to try to do that because, you know really, as a U.S. officer, I can only confirm U.S. causalities.


I can confirm for you that we haven't had any of those as a result of a drone attack.  But it wouldn't be my place to comment on the -- the, you know casualties for other nations.


CAPT. DAVIS:  And Ryan Brown, I think you had a follow up.


Q:  Yes, just one quick one, colonel.


You described the drone attack as a Trojan horse-style attack.  Was that -- do you think that it was intentionally like a delayed explosion?  Or -- or were you -- you just using a -- for I mean, why was it a Trojan horse attack, sir?


COL. DORRIAN:  Well, I don't know for sure that it was.  And we don't know if that's intentional or not.  We know that there was an improvised device on a -- on a -- a drone.  And when that was brought back to the camp, it exploded.  So, the reason or the way or the manner in which that happened, still digging into that.


CAPT. DAVIS:  Okay.  Anybody else?


Yeah, Richard, go ahead.


Q:  Sorry, colonel, one more about the drones.  Are you seeing more of these things flying around now, particularly as the preparations for Mosul progress?  You know, and the idea of a sense that perhaps the enemy is trying to get through surveillance from the drones, the -- the disposition of the -- of the forces moving towards Mosul?


COL. DORRIAN:  I would -- I don't know that -- I don't have any figures to offer you.  It is a discussion that we're having in the command and something that General Townsend's made clear is something that we're gonna move out smartly to address.  That's why we brought this additional capability into the country.  So, that's kind of where we are on that.


Again, sort of circling back to the overall message here, these aren't having any kind of strategic impact at all.  So, Daesh may use them, they may fly them, they may use them for propaganda, but ultimately, the Iraqis are gonna liberate Mosul and we're gonna support them.  Their use of these is not gonna stop anything.


CAPT. DAVIS:  All right.  Anyone else?  Going once, going twice.


J.D., thank you very much for your time today.  And ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time.  And again, we apologize for the delays earlier.


And look forward to hearing from you next week, John.


COL. DORRIAN:  All right.  Take care.  We'll get it together for next week.