Time: 9:35 p.m. CEST
Iraq’s military forces and Kurdish forces, backed with the United States air strikes, started an offensive early on October 17 toward the Islamic State group held city of Mosul in Iraq.
The operation, which could take days, or even months, is characterized with slow progress after militants respond with roadside bombs and truck bombs. The Associated Press reports that some of the forces are on 30 kilometers (20 miles) of Mosul’s edges, “it was not clear how long will take to reach the city itself.” After the Iraqi military reaches Mosul, they would need to fight their way into an urban environment, the AP reports.
Islamic State militants overtook Mosul, which is the second largest city in Iraq, in 2014 and later Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a head of the group, pronounced the caliphate state during a speech in a mosque in Mosul.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the action of the military has a goal to get rid of DAESH.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter said the operation “is a decisive moment in the campaign,” against the Islamic State. The U.S. is giving air support, training and logistical support, but Iraqi military is on the ground.
Iraqi Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil said more than 250.000 troops will participate in the operation.
Islamic State group said through Amaq that the group carried out eight suicide attacks against Kurdish forces.
Mosul is a city, which is mostly populated with Sunni population. The most recent operation to retake the city of the militants could displace between 200.000 and a million people, the United Nations estimates show. The empty camps could take about 100.000 people. A senior U.N. humanitarian official, Undersecretary-General Stephen O’Brian warned for the safety of civilians in Mosul.
In Washington D.C., the White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained the U.S. have been coordinating with Iraqis, “Very closely as they try to organized this campaign and in doing so, with a strategic goal in mind to dislodge ISIL.”
Earnest said that the idea the Iraqi security forces should delay the operation, “Because their concern about the humanitarian situation in Mosul, does not make sense.” The White House press secretary Earnest said while ISIL is in charge in Mosul, “With a violent campaign to bring the city under control, they are killing civilians all the time.”
Earnest also said the U.S. tried to “work with international community and the U.N. to plan that widespread humanitarian concerns could be prompted.”