Iraqi army and Kurdish soldiers started battling on Monday in Mosul against the Islamic State stronghold.
“The hour of victory has come, the operation to liberate Mosul has started,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a televised address early Monday.
“God willing we will meet in Mosul to celebrate the liberation and your salvation from Daesh so we can live together once again, all religions united and together. We shall defeat Daesh to rebuild this dear city of Mosul,” he added.
Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Mosul has been under ISIS control since June 2014.
The battle is considered an important one: if ISIS loses control of Mosul, then the terror group could lose its control in Iraq completely.
ISIS has already lost many cities recently. Sunday, the terror group lost the Syrian city of Dabiq.
U.S. officials have said the battle for Mosul could last weeks to months. U.S. forces are supporting the fighting.
It’s also feared that ISIS will use the local population as “human shields.” Others are expected to flee the city. Aid organizations are expecting lots of need as the fighting wages on.
“We fear the humanitarian consequences of this operation will be massive,” said Wolfgang Gressmann, the NRC’s Iraq country director.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: October 17, 2016