13:58 GMT27 February 2021
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    The Iraqi army will need Kurdish fighters' help to retake Mosul from under the control of Daesh (Islamic State), Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said.

    Mosul is the largest city under the control of Daesh. It is 400 km (250 miles) north of Baghdad and it has been selected by the government as the next target for Iraq's armed forces after they won back the western city of Ramadi.

    “Mosul needs good planning, preparations, commitment from all the key players,” Reuters quoted Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, as saying in an interview on Monday in Baghdad.

    He said that Peshmerga is a major force, “you cannot do Mosul without Peshmerga,” referring to the armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous northern region close to Mosul.

    The minister noted that battle of Mosul will be very challenging as the militants have been strengthening themselves but according to him it is possible to secure it. He added that the army may need to draw in support from local Sunni forces and possibly Shiite Popular Mobilization.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday that Islamic State would be defeated in 2016 with the army preparing to move on Mosul. “We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh,” he said in speech praising the army's victory in Ramadi.

    Winning back Mosul would successfully mark the end of the caliphate declared by Daesh in neighboring Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria, according to Zebari.

    “It's there where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate,” he said, referring to the group's leader. “It is literally their capital.”


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    Iraqi fighters, recapture, militants, mobilization, Kurds, Daesh, Hoshiyar Zebari, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Mosul, Iraq
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