U.S. forces behind front lines in Iraq's battle to retake Mosul

Smoke rises from clashes in the east of Mosul during clashes with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Monday played down any new role for U.S. forces in Iraq’s battle to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State, saying American personnel were behind the forward line of troops and acting in an advisory role to support Iraqis.

“Americans are again playing an advisor role, an enabler role for these Iraqi forces ... Most of the American forces in Iraq are not anywhere close to the front line,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told a news briefing, saying many U.S. troops were on advisory or logistical support missions.

“The role of the U.S. forces today is no different than up to this point.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Andrew Hay