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U.S. Helps Launch Offensive Against ISIS

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

The U.S. military has unveiled a plan to help retake the city of Mosul, Iraq, from Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Defense One reported the U.S. is gathering and training 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi and Kurdish forces to re-take Mosul from the 1,000 to 2,00 ISIS fighters who are occupying the city.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said the offensive force may be ready within five weeks, although the attack could be pushed back depending on how training goes.The coalition will consist of five Iraqi brigades and three Peshmerga brigades, all of whom will undergo a U.S. training course. Mosul police officers and Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service will also assist with liberating the city.

An unnamed official told Defense One that the intelligence community is unsure how much of Mosul is controlled by ISIS, but Iraqi Security Forces have retaken between 700 and 800 square kilometers.

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“Militarily, ISIL is in decline,” the official said. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attack on ISIS has also led to the group weakening.

Syrian rebels in the north are close to receiving U.S. military training, pending a final agreement with the U.S. Another training center in Saudi Arabia will be opened in 60 to 90 days and a third site in Qatar is nine months away.

Source: Defense One Image via Boris Niehaus/Wikimedia Commons