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Battle of Mosul: A Turning Point in the Fight Against ISIS

Veteran News
Veteran News
October 3, 2016
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The battle for Mosul, Iraq, a key ISIS stronghold, will begin in the coming weeks. The self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate has held the city for over 2 years, and it is considered the last and strongest foothold of ISIS in Iraq.The city is the second-largest in Iraq, with a population of over 1.2 million. The battle is expected to send over 1 million people fleeing for safety and will determine the outcome of the rest of the fight against ISIS and extremism in the region.“Where is the existential threat to Iraq?” Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commander of the U.S.-lead coalition’s ground forces, said recently. “The decisive point for the fight in Iraq is Mosul.”


Mosul Will Be A Turning Point in ISIS Fight

The Iraqi army has been fighting back for the last two years after being decisively defeated by ISIS. Backed by U.S. air strikes and thousands of paramilitary fighters, Iraqi forces have been taking back territory all year. Up to a quarter of what ISIS controlled in 2015 is now back in government hands.The size of the city is daunting for coalition forces. It’s also intimidating for poorly-trained and nervous troops: “This year we’re going to Mosul [commanders said to their troops], and they didn’t go. When we came, they told us we weren’t going to Mosul. But we will,” said Col. Brett Sylvia, head of the U.S. Task Force Strike in Iraq.The plans to capture the city call for some forces to advance on Mosul from the east while army units and Iraq’s “Golden Division” special operations forces attack from the south.Coalition leaders say they are unsure how long ISIS fighters can hold out, although some of the group’s top leaders in Mosul have already begun fleeing.U.S. forces will not be on the frontline, says Volesky.“What is different about this fight is that the Iraqis are really in the lead. They’re the ones fighting. We’re not telling them what to do.”In July of 2003, Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay were killed by U.S. Special Forces after a 3-hour gunfight in Mosul.

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