The commander of the US-led international coalition against “Islamic state” (organization banned in Russia), General Stephen Townsend said that over the next six months, Iraqi Mosul and the Syrian of raqqa will be liberated from terrorists, the Associated Press reports.
“In the next six months, I think we will see the end [of campaign in Mosul and raqqa. — ] “, he said.
The operation to capture the Western half of Mosul will begin in the next few days, the General said. The Eastern half, as noted by the AP, was declared “fully liberated” from terrorists last month. After that, the battle for the city was for a time discontinued.
In early December last year, Townsend said that the operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS could last for another two months (i.e. until February). “I think they [Iraqi troops] will work in Mosul a few weeks, probably a couple of months,” said Townsend.
He also noted that “after Mosul nothing is finished”, as the international coalition “has not fulfilled all tasks in Iraq.” According to him, it is still necessary to “clean up” of insurgents, “about a third of the Euphrates valley to the Syrian border.”
Later, on 27 December 2016, Townsend said that the liberation of Mosul and Raqqa and the elimination of the remaining ISIL militants, the military will need “two intense years of work.” He noted that a complicating factor is the fact that ISIS had plenty of time to plan attacks and violence that are willing to be insurgents.