The Pentagon on Thursday telegraphed its upcoming operation to take back Iraq’s second largest city, a keystone to defeating the self-proclaimed Islamic State, saying it could start within weeks.
The announcement seemed to be an attempt to wage a psychological war-that a well-trained and U.S.-backed Iraqi army would push the terror group out of Mosul.
In a briefing with reporters, a CENTCOM official said the U.S. and Iraqi forces were planning to line up as many as 25,000 Iraqi and Peshmerga troops to take on the 2,000 ISIS fighters who control the city.
The Iraqi forces will include five Iraqi army brigades, three Iraqi army reserve brigades, three Peshmerga brigades, and two additional forces, the official said. About 2,000 of those troops have yet to receive training for the upcoming mission; they will be part of a group of forces tasked with holding the city once it is out if ISIS’s grip.
The campaign is slated to begin sometime in April or May, said the CENTCOM official, who spoke to reporters on the condition that he not be named. Read more at the Daily Beast.