Battle For Mosul: The Cards Are Stacked Against ISIL

On one side of a small mountain bordering Dohuk and Nineveh provinces in northern Iraq, rows of soldiers march in green fatigues and red berets, rifles slung across their shoulders. On the other side is Mosul, the de facto Iraqi capital for fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who seized the territory one year ago today.

Aljazeera posits that the fighters in Dohuk are preparing to take Mosul back, although there is no timeline for the offensive, which is being coordinated by Iraqi forces and a global anti-ISIL coalition. ” We are under major pressure daily from families and relatives inside Mosul to liberate Mosul,” said Mahmoud el-Surchi, a spokesperson for the Dohuk training camp, whose soldiers have been dubbed the National Crowd for Liberating Nineveh.

The group is primarily Sunni, but also includes fighters and commanders of various religious and ethnic backgrounds. “We believe the cards are stacked against Daesh [ISIL],” Nineveh told Al Jazeera. “Everyone agrees Daesh should be defeated. We are just waiting for the right time.”

The operation to retake Mosul, which fell into ISIL’s hands in June 2014 after Iraqi security forces fled from the group’s rapid advance , was initially expected to begin in April or May. But Surchi, who says the National Crowd has been closely coordinating with Iraqi and coalition forces, noted that the timeline was pushed back after ISIL seized Ramadi in Anbar province last month, prompting a major counteroffensive.


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