It is “possible” that the coalition forces could recapture the ISIS stronghold of Mosul in Iraq before Donald Trump is sworn in as president in January, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday. “That is certainly possible and again it is going to be a tough fight,” Carter said. The Mosul offensive began on Oct. 17, and in recent days ISIS militants have fought back more intensely. A mix of Iraqi government troops, Kurds and Shi’ite militias are participating in the offensive. Carter added that troop presence in Iraq will be important even after ISIS is defeated. “In Iraq in particular, it will be necessary for the coalition to prove sustained assistance and carry on our work to train, equip, and support local police, border guards, and other forces to hold areas cleared from ISIL,” Carter said.