The U.S. military is sharing plans for a massive attack on ISIS in Mosul, one that would involve up to 25,000 American-trained Iraqi and Kurdish fighters.
The United States has revealed plans for the attack, which would take place sometime in the spring, sharing the details in a briefing for reports. Official said the plan to attack ISIS in Mosul would involved five Iraqi brigades, which are currently undergoing training from U.S. troops, as well as three Peshmerga brigades and a “Mosul fighting force” that includes mostly Mosul police officers.
The plan is to attack Mosul from the north, striking the heavily weakened ISIS troops holding onto the major city.
In recent weeks, coalition forces and Kurdish fighters have delivered a series of crushing defeats to ISIS. Last month, Kurdish Peshmerga forces retook a key area near the Mosul dam, liberating seven villages in the process.
“ISIS has left more than 200 bodies of its fighters in the field,” said Masrour Barzani, chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council and the son of the region’s president, in a press conference on Wednesday.
Experts believe that ISIS could eventually lose Mosul to the coalition forces.
“ISIS has lost today 20 percent to 25 percent of its controlled territories in Nineveh province … and the liberation forces of Mosul will have 5,000 fighters in five days who are ready for special operations,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an ISIS specialist.
Many experts believe it is only a matter of time before ISIS loses Mosul entirely. “ISIS has lost today 20 percent to 25 percent of its controlled territories in Nineveh province … and the liberation forces of Mosul will have 5,000 fighters in five days who are ready for special operations,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an ISIS specialist.
U.S. airstrikes have also severely weakened the group, with officials saying last month that these attacks have killed more than 6,000 fighters, including half of the group’s top commanders. Kurdish forces have also been able to hold ISIS out from the key city of Kobane, located on the border with Turkey. After weeks of fighting, the Kurdish troops were able to repel ISIS from the city.
While the planned attack on Mosul is considered key to defeating the group, ISIS is losing key ground on all fronts, including Syria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the coalition forces have “halted” the advance of ISIS.