Iraqi commanders say security forces are having a difficult time countering the Islamic State group’s use of guerrilla warfare.
The nation’s security forces have struggled to stem the tide of the Sunni radical terrorist group since the fall of Ramadi in May.
“They are professionals in guerrilla warfare, contrary to our forces which follow an old fighting style,” said Brig. Gen. Nasir al-Fartousi, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The general said his job is to retake control of Baiji from the Islamic State group, but admitted his forces are, for all intents and purposes, outmatched.
“We receive fire from one street in Baiji and we set a plan to attack this street. And the next day when we start the attack, we are caught off guard by Daesh fighters attacking us from a different street. … It’s not easy to make a soldier learn guerrilla fighting tactics in one day and a night,” he said, Reuters reported.
Army Col. Ahmed al-Asadi told Reuters that commanders’ reluctance to take casualties are exacerbating the issue.
“Commanders avoid losing high casualties, which is now the parameter to judge a successful or failed commander. This is why commanders of the Baiji battle give the priority to minimizing casualties among soldiers, versus making quick advances,” he said.
The colonel added that the prevalence of Iran-backed militias can, at times, make it difficult to efficiently conduct battlefield operations.
“Multiple commanderships exist on the ground and unfortunately we have less coordination between the Hashid [Shiite militia] and its commanders with the military. Such a situation definitely contributed to the blundering,” he said, Reuters reported.
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