The Armed Forces of Iraq began this Monday (17), with the support of the kurdish militias and the coalition of american, an operation to recapture Mosul, the second largest city in the country, dominated by the Islamic State two years ago.
In a message addressed to “the sons of Iraq and Nineveh”, the province where is located the city, the prime minister Haider al Abadi said that “soon you hastearão the flag of Mosul in the centre of Mosul and in all the cities and villages”. He asked the population to collaborate with the security forces.
The prime minister emphasised that the operation is commanded by the iraqi Army and National Police, and that no other force will get in Mosul – if referring to other groups that also take part in the offensive.
The forces that fight against the jihadists, which include, in addition to the iraqi Army units, with multi-ethnic and multissectárias, the Forces of Popular Mobilization (Hashd al-Shaabi), mostly shiite, militias regional sunni fighters kurdish peshmerga.
The operations for the retaking of Mosul if they begin after a month of preparations. Last week, the last bastion of resistance of EI in Iraq found himself surrounded by more than 60 thousand soldiers. It is estimated that the jihadists have between 4 and 6 thousand fighters in the city.
Experts predict that, despite the numerical superiority of the pro-government forces, the battle for Mosul will extend for several months and that might be one of the most bloody since the rise of EI.
The secretary of Defense of the United States, Ash Carter, said the operation is a “decisive moment in the campaign” against the WILL, and assured that his country and the other members of the international coalition to remain in readiness to help the iraqi troops “in the difficult fight that lies ahead”.
On Sunday, the iraqi Army spread thousands of leaflets over the city, alerting residents that the preparation for the offensive was at the final stage and ensuring that the civilians will be spared.
Mosul, with over a million inhabitants, is under the power of EI since mid-2014. Prime minister Abadi has stated that 2016 will be “the year of the end of terrorism and the organization Daesh” (an acronym in Arabic of EI).