Liberating Mosul "Will Be Iraq’s Biggest Fight"

The size of Iraq’s second-largest city will make the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s two-year grip the largest mission Iraqi security forces have yet undertaken against the enemy, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told Pentagon reporters today.

Providing an update on the counter-ISIL effort in Iraq and Syria by teleconference from Baghdad, Air Force Col. John L. Dorrian said Mosul’s size is on the “order of magnitude larger than the liberation battles in cities such as Ramadi, Fallujah and Sharqat.”

As shaping operations and planning along the Tigris River Valley to liberate the city are underway, the Iraqi government is working with the United Nations and nongovernment organizations to plan for people fleeing Mosul when the fighting begins, Dorrian said. The Iraqi government is directing 20 campsites for displaced people and is working with the U.N. and other organizations to pre-position resources to take care of them, he added.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has informed the residents of Mosul of the pending liberation by radio address, and he has asked residents to cooperate with security forces, Dorrian said.

Iraqi Forces Remove ISIL from Area in Euphrates Valley

Elsewhere in Iraq, Iraqi forces have attacked ISIL fighters in the Euphrates River Valley on multiple fronts to remove them from the eastern side of the river, north and south of Hit, the colonel said. Within the past few days, the Iraqi forces completed clearance operations along the Euphrates Valley, connecting their northern and southern forward battle lines with about 140 miles of contiguous cleared area between Baghdad and Haditha, he added.

Clearing this area takes pressure off the Iraqi forces to defend multiple fronts in the valley, and it helps to protect Ramadi, Fallujah and Baghdad from ISIL attacks as the battle for Mosul is waged, Dorrian explained.

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