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Iraq begins offensive to liberate Mosul from Isis

Lanciata una vasta operazione militare da parte delle forze irachene e internazionali. Obiettivo: riprendere la città di Mosul, dal 2014 in mano all’Isis.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi has announced on 16 October the decision to launch an offensive to liberate the city of Mosul from Isis, which has been holding it since June 2014.

The UN fears a humanitarian crisis

The predominantly Sunni city was conquered by the Islamic State in 2014 in a relatively easy action, mainly due to local population’s mistrust towards Iraqi security forces (dominated by Shiite). After having entered the city, fundamentalist leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi proclaimed the so-called caliphate in the territories conquered in Iraq and Syria.

Isis Mosul Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister announces the offensive to liberate Mosul from Isis © Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

At the moment, there are 3,000 to 9,000 fighters of the Islamic State in Mosul. The city was originally home to 2 million people, but now to only 1.5 million people. The situation could get even worse. Lisa Grande, humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations in Iraq, has explained that a new military operation could cause new migratory flows, potentially pushing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Kurdish forces reconquered the suburbs of Mosul

Iraqi forces have launched the offensive with some 30,000 federal forces, supported by the coalition led by the United States. Meanwhile, Kurdish militias managed to retake some areas of the suburbs of Mosul, including the Christian city of Qaraqosh seized by Isis in 2014.

Iraq Mosul
A young girl smiles at a refugee camp housing Iraqi families who fled fighting in the Mosul area on October 17 ©DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Spokesman of the US Department of Defence Peter Cook said that “Iraqi forces have met their objectives so far and that they are ahead of schedule for this first day”. But the coalition claimed that the operation could last weeks, if not months, depending on the response of Isis, which could opt for a terrorist strategy as it has already done before.

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