US and Iraq plan operation to regain control of Mosul

US and Iraq plan operation to regain control of Mosul

US and Iraq plan operation to regain control of Mosul

The US and Iraqi forces plan to launch military operation to regain control of Iraq's second largest city of Mosul from the Islamic State, the terror group that has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria.

Such an operation could be launched as early as April- May, US Central Command officials said in an "unusual" move.

In a rarest of the rare and daring release of details of the operation to recapture Mosul, CENTCOM officials said the "main attack force" would consist of five Iraqi army brigades, which will all go through US training sites before they commence the operation to regain Mosul.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, CENTCOM officials said the rest of the force involved in the operation will include three Kurdish peshmerga brigades that will help contain the Islamic State forces from the north of the city and isolate them from the west.

The total force would have strength of between 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops and associated forces.

"In terms of the Mosul operation, we are still projecting that the shaping for Mosul and the isolation of Mosul is going on now. The preparation for the forces that will participate in Mosul is ongoing right now. And the mark on the wall that we are still shooting for is the April-May timeframe," the official said.

There are still a lot of things that need to come together. "As we dialogue with our Iraqi counterparts, we want them to go in that timeframe, because as you get into Ramadan and the summer and the heat, it becomes problematic if it goes much later than that," he said.

"But by the same token, if they're not ready, if the conditions are not set, if all the equipment that they need is not physically there and they are trained to a degree in which they will be successful, we have not closed the door on continuing to slide that to the right," the official said.

"Militarily, ISIS is in decline," the official said, but noted that regaining Mosul would not be easy.

"We have a very short timeline out here. I can tell you, obviously, Mosul will not be easy. It's going to be a difficult fight, but we're not going to get into the specifics of what we're seeing ISIL do or not do to prepare for that," the CENTCOM officials said.

Mosul was captured by Islamic State militants last summer after many Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions. 

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