Iraqi Assault on Mosul Finally Begins

Iraqi government and peshmerga troops on Monday launched the long-awaited battle against ISIS in Mosul, sending armored convoys into the city with support of US and coalition aircraft, including air controllers on the ground. The operation against Mosul is expected to take weeks, if not longer, and is mainly the responsibility of coalition-trained Iraqi soldiers. “Iraq is supported by a wide range of coalition capabilities, including air support, artillery, intelligence, advisors, and forward air controllers,” Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement. “But to be clear, the thousands of combat forces who will liberate Mosul are all Iraqis.” ISIS captured the city more than two years ago, and Iraqi and coalition officials have said they are dug in for a fierce battle. About 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish troops began the march on Mosul, after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced the offensive saying, “The Iraqi flag will be raised in the middle of Mosul and in each village and corner very soon,” according to The New York Times. (See also: Iraqi PM: Victory is Near in Mosul.)