Iraqi offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIS begins

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the joint operations command, confirmed that the operation to retake the city “had begun.”

He told Iraqi state TV that his forces recaptured several villages on the outskirts of the town of Makhmour, east of the city, on Thursday morning. He added that both Iraqi and coalition air forces were playing a decisive role in the offensive, the Associated Press reported.

Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, told Newsweek in an email: “All of our operations are in support of the goal of liberating Mosul,” without providing any further details on the operation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi pledged to defeat ISIS in the country’s second-largest city by the end of the year and this offensive is aimed at clearing the way to liberating Mosul from the radical Islamist group.