After the failure of the December attempt to storm al-Bab and the departure of the Turkish troops in position to the West of the city, the fighting here took positional character. The Turks are engaged in the accumulation of forces, continuing to throw from Turkey additional forces of infantry and armored vehicles, as well as groups of fighters from Idlib, to replenish suffered serious losses in December, groups of “Ahrar al-sham” and the Syrian Free Army. Turkish aircraft and artillery intensively work on the defensive positions of the Caliphate. According to Turkish sources, the Turks help from Russian air forces, and officially this assistance the defense Ministry confirmed.
Lieutenant General U.S. army Stephen Townsend, who heads the joint command of coalition forces in Iraq, spoke on the topic of long-term war against the Caliphate. It is worth Recalling that, initially, Townsend was a very optimistic look at the assault on Mosul, but after the first failure, began to adjust their forecasts, saying that 2 weeks to take Mosul will not work. When these deadlines have passed, he declared that the Caliphate was inventive enemy and easily take the city will not work, and in early December, and even stated on the underestimation of the Caliphate and that the storm could take months.
It turns out that ISIS was running a sophisticated operation to make guns and explosives. They apparently had the same standards as a country would have. Much of the material used came from facilities in Turkey — the sugar used in rocket fuel, the grade of aluminum needed for bombs, the grease to smooth guns and ammunition, the cement used for making mortar shells, the potassium nitrate manure used to make rockets.