The Arab Weekly

D-day looms for Mosul battle but questions remain

Fighters from predominantly Sunni Arab forces

Fighters from predominantly Sunni Arab forces

LONDON -More than two years after the fall of Mosul to the Islamic State (ISIS), the battle to liberate Iraq’s second largest city appears imminent.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi said in September that he expected the military offensive in Mosul to begin in October, al­though in later pronouncements he said he would decide in “the last minute” when to give the go-ahead.

British Defence Secretary Mi­chael Fallon said the operation to liberate Mosul would begin “within weeks” and French De­fence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said “there will soon be the main attack”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the military of­fensive would begin October 19th.

Iraqi officials said they expected the liberation to be swift and un­complicated.

“The capture of Mosul will be finished in record-breaking time,” spokesman for the Iraqi army, Gen­eral Yahya Rasool, told the Finan­cial Times.

“Mosul is supposed to be easier than these other cities outside Mo­sul, which we’ve been liberating, because these are the outskirts,” Abadi said. “They’re supposed to be more pro-Daesh than the city itself,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

“We are planning for a fight for many months but we anticipate the fight for Mosul will be easier than probably Ramadi.”

The United States leads the anti- ISIS coalition that provided Iraq with air cover, trained its soldiers and sent 5,000 troops — mainly military advisers — to Iraq. US offi­cials said Iraqi forces are ready for the Mosul offensive.

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