US-led coalition’s spokesman: battle for Mosul has not started yet

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ISIS convoy heading to Mosul. File photo

ARA News 

DUHOK – A spokesman for the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) told ARA News that the operation for Mosul “hasn’t started yet”, although the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi army forces have launched operations against ISIS last week for the first time near Mosul, capturing at least four villages. 

No, this operation is a continuation of the shaping operations – setting the stage – for the eventual assault into Mosul. The effort to retake Mosul has been underway for several weeks as the Iraqi security forces began shaping operations supported by Coalition strikes,” the US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

“We began the isolation of Mosul from Raqqa and central Iraq when the Peshmerga took Sinjar and Iraqi Security Forces, supported by the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces], retook Tikrit and Bayji. Operations in the Euphrates River valley support the eventual battle inside Mosul by preventing Da’esh [ISIS] in the ERV from reorienting forces to that fight, and preventing easy resupply of the fighters in Mosul,” the US-led coalition’s spokesman said in an exclusive interview with ARA News 

The first goal of the operation is to reach until the river and capturing Haji Ali district. The final stage is capturing the oil rich city of Qayyarah across the river. However, so far Iraqi security forces have not reached Haji Ali yet, and still fight for the strategic village of al-Nasr.

“Qayyarah represents key terrain in the effort to establish a strategic advantage as the Iraqi security forces prepare to ultimately retake Mosul.  As Makhmour is more than 110 kilometers from Mosul, the movement of forces north is a significant tactical and logistical operation,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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