Saturday, February 28, 2015

Back In Iraq

Retaking key Iraqi city will be no easy task

"For months, Kurdish peshmerga fighters have been taking up positions around Mosul, Iraq's second city and a stronghold for Islamic State extremists.

The city is now surrounded on three sides and in some cases the front lines are just kilometres away, says a spokesman for the peshmerga. But while the world increasingly expects them to take Mosul soon, Kurds don't: they're settling in for a long and bloody siege.

Mosul is strategically important to Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as its one million-plus inhabitants make up as much as one sixth of the population living in the extremists' selfdeclared caliphate. Wining Mosul back would mark a turning point in the war against IS.

Last week, a U.S. Central Command official said in Baghdad the assault to retake the city would likely be launched in April or May. The attack would involve 20,000 to 25,000 soldiers from eight Iraqi army brigades, three peshmerga brigades and a police force trained in irregular warfare."

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