Iraq denies US claim of ‘pause’ in Mosul operations
Iraq has denied a recent claim made by the US-led coalition supposedly targeting Daesh in the Arab country that there was going to be a “pause” in Iraqi military operations to liberate the northern city of Mosul.
Coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorian had alleged on Saturday that the suspension was aimed at helping the forces to “regroup.”
“We believe that [regrouping] will take two days before continuing the advance towards Mosul,” he had said in Baghdad.
Later in the day, however, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said via the country’s al-Iraqiya television network that, “Since the beginning of the operation to date, Iraqi forces have liberated a large number of districts, villages, and towns [in Nineveh Province, of which Mosul is the capital], and this trend is to continue as scheduled.”
The operation, he said, would last until the liberation of the province in its entirety.
The Iraqi premier said obstructive efforts by infiltrators and ill-wishers would not hamper the efforts to liberate Mosul.
Lieutenant General Abdul Wahhab al-Saadi and General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commanders with Iraq’s elite counter-terror force, have also rejected the remarks by the US-led coalition spokesman.
Together with dozens of its allies, the coalition has been pounding what it says are the positions of the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh since 2014. It is not clear if the strikes have done anything to dislodge the terrorists, however.
Reports have, meanwhile, pointed to alleged instances of obstruction or non-cooperation by the US-led coalition in the operations for Mosul, whose potential liberation would mean a severe blow to Daesh in Iraq.
The coalition reportedly stopped operations in the areas lying to the south of Mosul just as the push was gathering momentum since its launch on October 16.
Separately, some Iraqi Special Forces’ commanders said the coalition had withheld its support as the Mosul operation was going through one of its toughest embryonic stages.
Iraqi Armed Forces have also blasted the US-led forces for downing a drone belonging to its rapid reaction forces in Mosul’s general area at one point during the operation.
Also on Saturday, Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi forces opened a new front in the Mosul operations to cut Daesh’s supply lines between the city and neighboring Syria.
The Hashd al-Shaabi volunteer forces also seek to retake the town of Tal Afar on the western side of the city, the only site where the Armed Forces are yet to be deployed to.
Mosul has been under Daesh control since 2014. The terrorist group has described the city as its so-called headquarters in Iraq.