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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Iraqi forces ready to take back western part of Mosul

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
Photo by AP
Iraqi military forces launched an operation on Sunday in a mission to retake the western half of Mosul from ISIS. The operation was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on state television. He said government forces were on the move to "liberate the people of Mosul from Daesh oppression forever." The word 'Daesh' is an Arabic acronym for ISIS, a term they hate along with just about everything else.

The Iraqi PM called for the forces to "respect human rights." 

Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January, but the west is still in the control of the religious extremists. The present battle is expected to be difficult as it will go house-to-house in more densely populated, older and narrower streets.

According to Reuters, forces have already "captured several villages" in Mosul. 

"ISIS's cruelty, brutality and reach show they are not just a threat in Iraq and Syria, but to the region and the entire world," the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement.

Over 65 nations have come together to "defeat ISIS" over the past couple years, the statement said.

There are still many civilians trapped in Mosul and ISIS has no trouble targeting them or using them as human shields. Townsend made it clear that Iraqi forces will do all they can to avoid collateral damage.