Iraqi forces are slowly pushing ISIS out of Mosul – one of their last remaining strongholds in the country. Iraqis, along with American military support, are launching the second phase of their offensive in the city.
“Today, with coalition air and artillery support, the Iraqi Security Forces announced that several elements of the Iraqi Army, Federal Police and Counter Terrorism Service initiated a simultaneous advance along three axes in Mosul to defeat ISIL,” coalition forces said in a statement. “The Iraqi multi-axis advance opens two new fronts within the city and increases pressure on ISIL's dwindling ability to generate forces, move fighters or resupply.”
American and Iraqi forces had originally hoped to vanquish the Islamic State from Mosul within the end of the year, but efforts stalled as coalition forces hoped to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible. Officials have warned residents in Mosul to remain in their homes rather than fleeing in order to best protect themselves from harm.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi believes ISIS will be mostly eradicated from his country within three months – a rather optimistic outlook.
“The Americans were very pessimistic,” al-Abadi stated on Tuesday. “They used to talk about a really long period, but the remarkable successes achieved by our brave and heroic fighters reduced that. I foresee that in Iraq it will take three months."
Iraqi troops began their Mosul offensive in October and quickly reached the city limits. They have not yet reached the Western section of the town, but complete Iraqi control is imminent. To hinder ISIS movement, coalition forces destroyed the last remaining bridge crossing the Tigris River.
The loss of Mosul would be another blow to the Islamic State. While Iraqi forces are gaining ground in their country, forces under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have also been scoring victories. The Syrian government finally regained control of Aleppo – a devastating blow to the Islamic State.