Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that in less than a month Iraqi government forces will launch an offensive against ISIS terrorists in an attempt to retake Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, 160 km north of Baghdad.
Al-Abadi has criticized the “slowness” of the United States-led international coalition against ISIS terrorists in providing military support to his army, AFP reports.
ISIS militants last year took control of swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, and a US-led international coalition is conducting air raids against ISIS positions in both countries and is providing military support to Iraqi forces.
“The international coalition is very slow in its support and training of the army” in Iraq, Mr Abadi said during an official visit to Cairo.”This support is very slow but in the last two weeks there has been an acceleration,” he said, however, calling for a “further acceleration” in the assistance provided to the Iraqi army.
Iraq may need three years to rebuild and restructure its military, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi added.” said Abadi. “This does not mean that the fighting with ISIS will last for three years.”
In July, Iraqi forces withdrew from the militant-held city after meeting heavy resistance. Abadi was less specific about Mosul.
“Mosul. I can’t specify. Maybe the operation will be launched soon, faster than imagined. We don’t want to advance to Mosul without planning.”
Mr Abadi said he discussed with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi Iraqi “proposals” for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria.
He said the proposals “fill the void” that would appear in areas taken back from ISIS militants, ensuing “a joint administration between the government and the opposition during a period of transition”.
The objective was to prevent the emergence of “new terrorist groups” in areas freed from the ISIS, Mr Abadi said.