Iraqi troops launch offense to recapture Mosul from Islamic State

Published On:October 18, 2016, 1:25 pm

According to Pentagon, the Iraqi army forces are “ahead of schedule”, as they have started the second day of the battle to recapture Mosul from alleged IS fighters.Although Mr. Peter Cook who is a spokesperson from Pentagon that it could possibly take some time as it continued to witness whether Islamic State (IS) would actually “stand and fight.”

In the wee hours of Monday, the alliance of forces established their push towards the city. In June 2014, Mosul was seized by IS which was at that time the second-largest city. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the extremists’ leader chose Mosul to declare the formation of caliph. Hence retaking the city would be quite “symbolic”, as per Mr. Cook.

"Early indications are that Iraqi forces have met their objectives so far, and that they are ahead of schedule for this first day. This is going according to the Iraqi plan - but again, it's early, and the enemy gets a vote here. We will see whether ISIL [IS] stands and fights.” Mr. Cook informed the press reporters in Washington.

Cook further added, "We are confident no matter what, however, that the Iraqis have the capabilities to get this job done, and we stand ready to support them, along with the rest of the coalition."

On Monday, after planning and strategizing for months together, the entire alliance of 30,000 Iraqi soldiers, Sunni tribal fighters, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces commenced their advances on IS’s last major stronghold in the country. It is believed that around 4,000 to 8,000 IS fighters remain in Mosul.

In the initial few hours of the operation, the Kurdish prehended various villages and later on Monday announced that they have conquered all their critical objectives which included retaking 200 sq km and 9 villages within 24 hours.

One of the Kurdishs general stated to the BBC's Orla Guerin: "We have a powerful enemy, They are not just fighting the Kurds or the Shia, they are fighting the whole world.” He further added, "We want to defeat them for everyone's sake."

However, as the fight intensifies, fears have been alerted for the safety of the civilians who are yet trapped in the area. With British International Development Secretary Priti Patel said the safety and protection of civilians must be a “paramount concern". She stated that, "Retaking Mosul will be an important step towards defeating Daesh [IS] in Iraq and ending its tyranny over the civilian population in the city." "However, with up to one-and-a-half million people still living in the city, it is clear that their protection and wellbeing must be a paramount concern."

Peter Cook said, "My understanding is that there may be as many as seven million leaflets dropped in the next 48 hours or so to try and educate the population of Mosul as to the safest way to conduct themselves as this fighting plays out." By now, the government of Iraq has dropped thousands of leaflets on Mosul telling the residents of the town whether what measure they need to take or do during the offensive.

UK Defense Secretary Mr. Michael Fallon said that the RAF has constantly been backing and providing support to the troops in Iraq in the build-up to the operation and will proceed to play a “leading role” in this fight against IS.

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