The U.S led coalition made several airstrikes on it but in general Mosul was not attacked by the Iraqi army for more than 18 months as the country’s security forces battled terrorists in other areas.
Today, Iraqi officials have said to a western media that the Iraqi army is deploying thousands of soldiers to a northern base in preparation for operations to retake the Islamic State group’s hub of Mosul.
Iraq’s second city Mosul was seized by ISIS in June 2014. The U.S led coalition made several airstrikes on it but in general Mosul was not attacked by the Iraqi army for more than 18 months as the country’s security forces had been battling terrorists in other areas.
“Units from the Iraqi army have begun arriving to a military base near the Makhmur district to start launching initial military operations toward Mosul,” an Iraqi army staff brigadier general told a western news agency on condition of anonymity.
Makhmur district is situated around 70 kilometres (45 miles) southeast of Mosul.
The officer informed that there were three brigades located in that base and their number would eventually reach 4,500 soldiers.
The officer also said that the initial aim was to completely sever IS supply lines between Mosul and areas farther south including Hawijah in Kirkuk province and areas near Baiji in Salaheddin.
According to the western news agency, a Kurdish official said that most of the soldiers deployed to the area were ethnic Kurds from the Iraqi army.
“These forces came with the approval of the presidency and government of the Kurdistan region of Iraq,” said Halgurd Hekmat, the ministry responsible for the autonomous region’s forces spokesman.
Hekmat said that the base would be for both soldiers and aircraft.