The prime minister of Iraq, while addressing world leaders at the United Nations Assembly’s annual general debate, suggested that the U.S.-backed Iraqi military will liberate Iraq from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) “by the end of the year.”
He echoed U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Joseph Votel who said at the end of last month that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are “on track” to recapture the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, considered to be ISIS’s largest remaining stronghold in the country, “by the end of the year.”
CENTCOM oversees the U.S. military operations in the Middle East. The U.S.-backed ISF are preparing to launch an offensive to retake Mosul, located in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province.
“Currently we are heading towards liberating Nineveh, the last province remaining under Daesh [ISIS], from which we regained major areas and we shall complete its liberation by the end of this year,” declared Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.
“Assisted by our friends in the international community, we started to implement programs for the return of internally displaced people (IDPs) to their liberated areas, where we developed an integrated program for re-stabilization and service provision, particularly water, electricity, schools and hospitals,” he added.
“We call on the international community to maintain further their support for the sheltering and return of IDPs, especially, with the forthcoming battle to fully liberate Nineveh and the anticipated increase of displaced persons,” also said the Iraqi PM.
His remarks came as Iraqi troops, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, were seizing Shirqat district in Saladin province, which borders Nineveh, from the Islamic State, also known as IS.
“We look forward to the day when Iraq and the whole region is free of Daesh [ISIS],” Abadi told world leaders at the UN General Assembly:
Nevertheless, our delight would come true only when the whole world becomes free from terrorism that threatens our peoples and nations. This requires serious collaboration to besiege terrorism, dry out its ideological and financial resources, and demolish its networks and recruitment hubs which are all over the world.
“Without such cooperation, terrorism would reach everywhere and refugees fleeing conflict areas would increase in numbers, which has already reached serious and unprecedented levels,” he added.
Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul proclaimed that the Iraqi military liberated “the district of Sharqat completely from the control of terrorism” on Thursday, reports UPI.
“A key supply route between Sharqat and IS-held Mosul was cut off on Wednesday prior to the full recapture of the district, notes UPI.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters on August 30, Gen. Votel said:
[W]ith respect to Mosul, you know I think as the Prime Minister has said, it’s his intention to try to get through Mosul by the end of the year.
My assessment… I think is that they are on track to achieve that objective.
Nearly a month earlier, Brett McGurk, President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the anti-ISIS alliance led by the United States, declared that nearly all the pieces had fallen into place earlier than expected for Iraq to make a push to recapture Mosul.
Although U.S. officials have not officially announced a timetable for the offensive to recapture Mosul, Abadi wants to kick start the Mosul campaign in October, according to Reuters.