Tuesday, 18 October 2016

'Battle for Mosul could take months in Iraq'- French minister

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Tuesday that the battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State group could take "months".

"It could be a long battle, it's not a blitzkrieg... It's a lengthy affair (lasting) several weeks, maybe months," he told reporters in Paris a day after the offensive began.

The long-awaited offensive on Mosul was launched on Monday, with some 30,000 forces involved in Iraq's largest military operation since the pullout of US troops in 2011.

The US military, which is leading a coalition providing air and ground support, also warned the battle would be long and difficult.

France will host an international meeting Thursday on the political future of Mosul, while the coalition's defence ministers will meet in Paris next Tuesday to assess progress on the military front.

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