Smoke rises after a rocket landed in the middle of the Iraqi rapid response forces' position during a battle against Islamic State militants in the south of Mosul, Iraq February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
ABC News Online: Mosul: Counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen says battle against Islamic State likely to take months
The battle for Mosul is unlikely to be over until at least the middle of the year, meaning many more months of hardship for hundreds of thousands of civilians still inside the Iraqi city, counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen says.
Iraqi government forces have now launched a large-scale operation to take the western half of Mosul city from Islamic State (IS) militants.
Mr Kilcullen told Lateline much of the fighting is centred on a hilltop near the city's airport.
"The Iraqis are now breaking into the southern part of the city, in the area near the airfield, which has been an [IS] headquarters for the past two years," he said.
"A lot of fighting right now is for a hilltop, a small hill on the southern edge of the airport.
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WNU Editor: This blog has been covering David Kilcullen's reports and analysis on Iraq since its beginning. An interview with him on the battle for Mosul can be seen here.