U.S., Iraqi Government Prepare for Spring Offensive to Take Back Mosul from ISIS


Looking to take back a city that has high strategic and symbolic value, the Iraqi military will launch an offensive against fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the coming months, a senior U.S. military official says.

NPR’s Tom Bowman reports:

“A U.S. Central Command official told reporters at the Pentagon that the military operation to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, will be in the April-May timeframe, and this operation will involve an estimated 20,000-25,000 Iraqi soldiers.

“And they say that in the city of Mosul, they estimate there are anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 fighters for the Islamic State.

“They did say Mosul won’t be easy — because Islamic State fighters have been dug in in that city since last June, when they took it over.”

Asked why the timetable for an assault on a fierce enemy would be publicized months before the operation’s scheduled start time, Tom tells NPR’s Morning Edition that the topic came up during Thursday’s briefing.

“This might be psychological operations,” he says. “You try to unsettle your enemy, and also give civilians time to leave the area.”

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