Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi confirmed that the battle to retake Mosul has commenced with the Iraqi Army leading the charge. Iraqi forces have been nearing the city of Mosul for days now in what will be described as the biggest fight Iraq will have against the Islamic State with its security forces.
According to NPR’s Tom Bowman, defense officials informed him that the Iraqi security forces “will outnumber the ISIS defenders by more than 20-to-1″ with Mr. Bowman adding,
“The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters will come in from the north and east, with Iraqi Army forces driving from the south. The U.S. will provide advisers, such as Green Berets who will accompany the Iraqi troops, but not take part in the actual fight. American airstrikes will also be part of the Mosul air operation, with the U.S. focusing on ISIS commanders in particular.”
Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi said on Iraqi TV,
“The time of victory has come and operations to liberate Mosul have started. Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh (ISIS)”
ISIS has had two years to dig in their heels in the city of Mosul, which will undoubtedly be a very tedious and arduous liberation offensive for the Iraqi forces and allies. There’s a high possibility that ISIS will stop any civilians from fleeing the city and use them as human shields while buildings of all sizes will be booby-trapped with explosive devices as well as roadside bombs; now with the use of weaponized drones, that factor is also a real possibility that coalition forces must contend with.
Rudaw News spoke with a Mosul resident who stated that ISIS has dispatched several of its fighters in different parts of the city who are maintaining a constant observation of the current situation and said that ISIS leaders have warned the civilians not to attempt to leave the city:
“ISIS has rigged the left side of the city with bombs and explosives and around 3,500 fighters have been deployed across the city. Many ISIS fighters from Diyala, Tikrit and Anbar are now in Mosul.”