Iraqi Mosul Liberation Op Officially Begins
Alwaght – The long awaited operation to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS terrorists has officially begun, Iraq national TV reported on Monday.
Iraqi President, Haider al-Abadi announced the initiation of operation in a televised speech saying “The time of victory has come and operations to liberate Mosul have started.” “Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of ISIS,” he added addressing the residents of Mosul.
The Iraqi president reiterated his former positions and insisted that national army is leading the operations with support from the national police force, while stressing that “others” will not be entering the city.
The “others” may refer to the Kurdish Peshmerga, Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the Nineveh Guard that were previously reported as participating in the operation.
Meanwhile Washington announced that the Kurdistan Workers Party that controls Sinjar will not be participating as it’s a recognized terrorist group by both Turkey and the United States.
Iraqi army has been in preparation phase for months as the city is considered the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq and liberating it could mean a victory over terrorist group in the country.
The importance of the operation is better seen through the insistence of all foreign forces to be a part of the operation. Baghdad has rejected demands by such forces saying that only Iraqi forces will take part in the operation.
The issue has grown into a major rhetorical controversy between Iraq and Turkey, after lawmakers in Ankara extended the mission of their armed units, already in Iraq, for another year and the President Erdogan declared that they will be part of the Mosul operation.
The move was strongly rejected by Iraqi parliament and government with some MPs calling them “occupier” forces. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi formally asked Ankara to remove its forces from Iraqi territory. Erdogan responded defiantly insisting that the decision to whether participate in the operation will be made in Ankara.
The operation has now officially begun and it seems Turkish forces are not part of it. Ankara, however, was not alone in its eagerness to take part in the operation as report were released that British army has sent units to the Iraqi Kurdistan region ahead of the operation, apparently for training missions. The US army also increased its forces in Iraq to 8,000 just as news emerged that the operation was imminent.
The insistence by these foreign forces became more controversial when reports emerged that the US and Saudi intelligence agencies were plotting to let ISIS terrorists flee into Syria and change the war scene there.
The sate-run Russian news agency cited some unnamed source in military and diplomatic circles in Moscow as saying that the intelligence agencies of both countries aim to facilitate the transfer of 9,000 terrorists into Syria in a bid to pave the way for terrorists to take part in a major offensive that aims at recapturing Deir Ezzor and Palmyra from Syrian government.
However Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces declared they will not allow the terrorists to escape into neighboring Syria. Now after the official initiation of the operations, reports say IMF will target the nearby town of Tal Afar whilst the Iraqi Army will focus its offensive on Mosul city.
The arrangement will prevent terrorists from escaping the country, when the same reports have cited sources that US-led air force, missioned to provide air support for the Iraqi army, will allow a corridor for ISIS to escape into Syria.
The US also deployed its special units to the battle.