A joint Iraqi-Kurdish military force of up to 25,000 fighters is on standby to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State (IS), a US official says. BBC reports:
According to the senior military official, the operation to recapture the northern city will probably take place in April or May.Iraq’s second largest city is currently being held by 1,000 to 2,000 IS militants, the official added.
Mosul was home to more than a million people before it fell to IS last June. The unnamed official told reporters that no decision had been made on whether a small group of US military advisers would be needed on the ground to direct air support.
All of the fighters in the force will have gone through US training by the time of the operation, the official added.He said the operation would be needed by May, otherwise it would be compromised by the summer heat, although he added that it could be delayed if the Iraqi forces were not ready.