The battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS could take two months, a Peshmerga military commander told CNN on the second day of the long-awaited offensive to liberate Iraq’s second city.
Advancing forces have encountered resistance from pockets of ISIS fighters on their approach to
Mosul. On Tuesday, one Iraqi soldier was killed and two were wounded while repelling suicide car bomb attacks southeast of the city. But morale was high among the troops.
“Next stop, Mosul,” said Sgt. Muhanned Hameed, a technician in the 9th Iraqi armored division, flashing a victory sign in front of his convoy.
Others were more reflective. One mechanic in the division told CNN’s Arwa Damon that while he was excited about reaching Mosul, “God help those who had to flee.”
“It always hurts to see the children’s clothing on the ground, thrown around. Sometimes we try to pick it up, put it away. I keep imagining, what if it was my house?”
Progress was swifter than expected on the operation’s first day, as forces advanced on the oil-rich northern city with support from roughly 90 coalition and Iraqi planes, retaking more than 75 square miles and wresting nine villages from ISIS control. […]
Since Mosul’s capture by ISIS fighters in June 2014, Mosul has been a vital stronghold for the terror group.
The largest city under ISIS control in Iraq and Syria, it was the city from which the group first declared the establishment of its so-called caliphate.
Since then, ISIS has gradually lost its other Iraqi cities — Ramadi, Tikrit and Falluja — to government forces. About 1 million people are estimated to remain in Mosul, once a cosmopolitan trade hub of 2 million residents.