Iraq’s peshmerga has paused its advance on Mosul after capturing a handful of villages from so-called “Islamic State” (IS). The Iraqi army is pressing on with day two of the operation to retake Iraq’s second city.
Colonel Khathar Sheikhan of the Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, confirmed on Tuesday that having acheived their objectives, his troops “are just holding our positions” in the Khazer area.
The pause came after a day of intense fighting involving airstrikes, heavy artillery and “Islamic State” (IS) car bombs.
The Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters, backed by US air and ground support began the battle to take back Mosul on Monday. Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city and the IS group’s last urban bastion. The front line east of Mosul is some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the city.
The operation is expected to take weeks or even months. On the first day, however, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said that Iraqi forces were “ahead of schedule.”
The White House said Iraqi forces have taken the leading role in this operation, with US troops in Iraq serving to train, advise and assist Iraqis.