World Bulletin/News Desk
Baghdad has transferred its first shipment of arms to the forces fighting the ISIL in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh, in preparation for a military offensive to liberate the city of Mosul, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Nineveh Provincial Council member Ghazwan Hamed confirmed that more than 60 armored vehicles, in addition to shipments of light and medium arms, had reached Erbil International Airport as part of preparations for a push to recapture Iraq’s second city, which has been under ISIS control since June.
The Nineveh Provincial Council member confirmed that Iraqi regular forces, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Nineveh police forces, and local tribal fighters will cooperate in an upcoming campaign to recapture Mosul.
He added that Iraqi authorities have even drawn up security plans for Mosul following the liberation of the city, with Mosul being split into different areas under the protection of community-based forces.
The Iraqi government has put together an armed force of 10,000 people to retake Mosul, the head of Mosul's provincial council said last week.
"The government has prepared its 'Freeing Mosul Plan,' which brings together a special army of Iraqi troops, peshmerga forces, the international coalition and the Mosul governorate," Bashar Kiki told The Anadolu Agency in an interview.
The Iraqi government is also giving special training to thousands of soldiers to wrestle control of Mosul, AA has learnt.
According to an AA correspondent in the region, approximately 7,000 troops, including former Mosul army soldiers and more than 2,000 Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT soldiers were being trained as a special unit at the “Operation: Retake Mosul" military camp in Mosul district.
The camp operates within the scope of the central Iraqi government’s “Freeing Mosul Plan” that brings together the special unit of Iraqi troops, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the international coalition.
The training of the special unit begins with morning sport activities and continues with weapons training; soldiers are instructed on Kalashnikovs, mortars, rocket launchers and machine guns.
The soldiers also practice close combat techniques for street battle.
The guns mostly come from the U.S. and other Western countries, camp officials say.
The military training began a month ago and the government was providing all necessary equipment to regain control of Mosul, Camp Commander General Khalid Hamdani said.
“We will be ready to combat the ISIL after more heavy weapons are delivered; the U.S. will also provide assistance and Kurdish Peshmerga will also join us.
“We are ready for battle, whenever Baghdad gives us a notice,” Hamdani added.
He also underlined the importance of cooperation with the U.S.-led coalition and Peshmerga forces. He said their military assistance was badly needed to successfully retake Mosul.
The U.S. is leading an international coalition that includes France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia; the coalition has carried out numerous airstrikes against the ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria since the militant group overrun Mosul in June.
According to the UN, an estimated 1.8 million citizens have been internally displaced this year throughout Iraq.