According to the U.S., Iraqi forces will try to take back Mosul from ISIL before the holy month of Ramadan starts in mid-June. U.S. officials said tens of thousands of Iraqi military personnel and Kurdish fighters will be involved in the operation.
ISIL has been in control of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, since last June as the group took over the town and sent hundreds of thousands fleeing.
CCTV’s Nathan King filed this report from Washington, D.C.
U.S. Gov. outlines strategy to take Mosul, Iraq from ISIL controlAccording to the U.S., Iraqi forces will try to take back Mosul from ISIL before the holy month of Ramadan starts in mid-June. U.S. officials said tens of thousands of Iraqi military personnel and Kurdish fighters will be involved in the operation.
To take back Mosul, Iraq from ISIL, U.S. defense officials said the planned operation would include air strikes and involve up to 25,000 Iraqi and Kurdish troops. The assault could possibly begin in April or May, with the U.S. providing Iraqi forces with training and weapons. An option involving U.S. ground troops has not been ruled out.
U.S. involvement on the ground in Iraq would most likely be just a handful of advisers. Learning the lessons of the past, U.S. officials said they want Iraqi forces to take the lead when they are ready.
“We believe it is in the best interests of American national security for the Iraqi people and their nations military forces to fight for their own country. We tried it a different way- we tried it in the previous administration by deploying more than 100,000 US military personnel,” White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Although the Iraqi army has had some successes in fighting ISIL, some military minds believe retaking Mosul will be a stretch.
“It is going to be a bloody street by street, house by house fight, and that’s why all of the skeptics are looking at it and saying this Iraqi army, even the Peshmerga without massive air strikes, may not be up to it,” Dr. Roby Barrett of the Middle East Institute said.
Mosul’s million citizens may not welcome the Iraqi government back.
“There is a reason that ISIS took Mosul so easily and everybody ran, you don’t have a few thousand guys take a city of one point five million unless the people in the city are fundamentally alienated from the government like the way they were from Baghdad,” Barrett said.
U.S. officials claim ISIL is on the wane militarily and the new Iraqi government is more inclusive and ready to address the grievances of its Sunni populations.