U.S soldiers walk on a bridge within the town of Gwer northern Iraq August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari /File Photo
WSJ: Mosul Offensive to Begin in Coming Weeks, U.S. General Says
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend says fight to retake the jihadist-held city will be long and difficult
BAGHDAD—The new commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State said he thinks the battle to retake Mosul, the jihadist group’s last major Iraqi stronghold, will begin in coming weeks.
The commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, said late Wednesday, however, that the push to reclaim Raqqa, the Sunni extremist group’s self-declared capital in neighboring Syria, was on hold.
The Raqqa operation, he said, has been hampered by Turkish tensions with the U.S.-backed rebel force led by Syrian Kurds that is expected to participate in the assault, which follows the incursion by Turkey’s military into Syria in August.
“We’re preparing for a hard fight, a long, difficult fight” in Mosul, said Gen. Townsend, speaking with The Wall Street Journal in his office at the coalition’s base in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. “Really, it’s a siege I’m talking about here.”
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WNU Editor: It looks like Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend was talking to soon, U.S. officials are denying his claim that the offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State will begin soon .... U.S. military spokesman disputes report Mosul offensive imminent (Washington Examiner).
More News On Reports That The Battle To Retake Mosul Will Begin Soon
Iraq gears up for late-year push to retake Mosul from Islamic State -- Reuters
U.S. Military Official: Fight for Mosul Retake Anticipated ‘Soon’ -- Asharq Al-Awsat
US sends more troops to Iraq to prepare for Mosul battle -- Stars and Stripes
Will Mosul be liberated this year? -- RUDAW