MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iraqi troops are about half a mile away from the country's third largest city of Mosul occupied by Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) jihadists since 2014, Talib Kinany, the head of Iraq's counter-terrorism forces, said Monday.
"We were between 800 to 900 meters [0.5 mile] away from Mosul limits this morning and we could be even closer now," Kinany was quoted as saying by the Rudaw news agency.
According to the media outlet, also on Monday, Fazil Barwari, the commander of the Iraqi Golden Force, said that by this evening the Iraqi forces would invade Mosul.
On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of the operation to retake Mosul from the Daesh, a jihadist group outlawed in Russia and a number of other states. More than 30,000 Iraqi and 4,000 Kurdish fighters are taking part in the offensive, backed by about 5,000 US troops and supported by coalition airstrikes.