The so-called Islamic State (IS) group is "a brutal opponent" in the fight for Mosul, the head of coalition forces for Iraq and Syria has told the BBC.
US Lt Gen Stephen Townsend was speaking on the sidelines of the battle to retake the Iraqi city from the jihadist group.
Gen Townsend also said IS was "adaptable, creative and cunning".
Iraqi forces on Thursday said they had re-captured the town of Bartella, less than 15km (10 miles) east of Mosul.
The predominantly Christian town had seen fierce IS resistance, with reports of several suicide car bombs by militants in response to the special forces' advance.
Bartella is key to the major offensive to retake Mosul, according to the head of Iraq's counter-terrorism service, Taleb Sheghati al-Kenani.
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