Iraqi government forces are ''ahead of schedule for this first day'' in the U.S.-backed offensive to drive Islamic State from Mosul, according to the Pentagon, but the White House says they anticipate some ''deeply unethical and dangerous tactics'' from ISIS. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The Pentagon said on Monday (October 17) that Iraqi forces were meeting objectives and were ahead of schedule on the first day of the offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State militant group. "They (Iraqi forces) are ahead of schedule for this first day," said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. Iraqi government forces launched a U.S.-backed offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, a high-stakes battle to retake the militants' last major stronghold in the country. Two years after the jihadists seized the city of 1.5 million people and declared a caliphate from there encompassing tracts of Iraq and Syria, a force of some 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Sunni tribal fighters began to advance. Helicopters released flares and explosions could be heard on the city's eastern front, where Reuters watched Kurdish fighters move forward to take outlying villages. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the offensive would take time. "We would anticipate that they (ISIS) will not hesitate to put innocent civilians in harms way in an effort to protect that city, and they'll use a range of what we anticipate will be some deeply unethical and dangerous tactics to try to hold on to that city," Earnest said.