“That’s why we are fighting now to make sure that that road link is connected and open for our forces to move forward,” Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told in Davos referring Iraq army close to Mosul liberation operation.
Iraq’s premier expressed confidence on Friday that the country’s army is capable of retaking the city of Mosul from the ISIS group.
The chief problem, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told a gathering of political and economic leaders in Davos, is that Iraqi forces in the area are currently split and need to join up.
“That’s why we are fighting now to make sure that that road link is connected and open for our forces to move forward,” he said.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched an offensive against the ISIS terrorist group on Wednesday, cutting a road linking two of the main areas it holds in north Iraq.
“We need to have a liaison between the rest of the Iraqi forces and (Kurdish) peshmerga and the coalition partners, and it can be done,” said Mr Abadi, claiming that IS fighters’ morale was running low.
“In some instances the (IS) fighters just flee, they don’t fight,” he said.
Asked by a moderator at the Davos event to confirm reports that half of the IS leadership have been eliminated, Mr Abadi said: “Yes we have seen that.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the United States and Iraq – whose army is undergoing training by US and other foreigner instructors – want to retake Mosul by this summer.
US air strikes have recently focused on putting pressure on Mosul. Kurdish peshmerga forces have also launched successful offensives against IS held roads near Mosul, which is in the north of the country.
The city once held well over a million people but now is likely a fraction of that size.
Meanwhile an uptick in airstrikes in northern Iraq this past week marks the beginning of a broader effort to disrupt ISIS supply lines ahead of an expected operation later this year to take back the city from militants, U.S. military officials said Friday.
Coalition airstrikes have pounded at least two dozen locations around Mosul, destroying dozens of vehicles, buildings, fighting positions and insurgent units, AP reports.
The airstrikes, said one senior military official, are the start of a new phase, and military leaders are watching to see how ISIS militants respond as their supply and communications lines dry up. The official was not authorized to discuss the operations publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, at the Pentagon Friday Rear Adm. John Kirby said U.S. efforts to train Iraqi forces and what he calls “moderate Syrian rebels” to fight ISIS are moving forward, even as insurgents still control about 21,000 square miles of Iraq.