Pentagon gives conflicting timeline for retaking Mosul

US defense chief says Mosul to be surrounded in 5 weeks; anti-ISIL spokesman says timeframe not feasable

Pentagon gives conflicting timeline for retaking Mosul

World Bulletin / News Desk

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Wednesday that Iraqi forces would surround Mosul in five weeks while a U.S.-led coalition spokesman deems it impossible.

“What we are focused on is collecting and positioning before Ramadan commences the forces for the envelopment of Mosul,” Carter told the Senate Appropriation Committee. "Some of those are ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] forces coming from the south, some of them are two brigades of peshmerga coming from the north. We would like to complete that envelopment before Ramadan, so those are two of the immediate operational objectives.”

On the other hand, Col. Steve Warren said “no” to a question about whether it is feasible and possible to encircle the key city in five weeks. 

“Mosul will not be isolated in next five weeks. What we hope to do is to control that southern line of communication within the next five weeks and I think that is what the secretary was probably talking to,” Warren said.

A Pentagon official speaking to Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity said the secretary misspoke.

“What he was trying to say was collecting and positioning of the forces to be completed by that time,” the official said.

 According to Warren, the plan to take Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city that fell to ISIL in June 2014, would consist of isolation and liberation phases.

Currently, Iraqi forces, with the help of the U.S.-led coalition, is in a “shaping phase of isolation operations,” Warren noted.

 “It involves severing some of the supply lines and their lines of communication through both air and ground operations,” he added.

Warren said Iraqi forces are trying to close the east-west route between the Syrian city of Raqqa -- ISIL’s self-declared capital -- and Mosul, as well as the supply line of the militant group from north to south between the Iraqi city of Baiji and Mosul.

Warren declined to give a timeline for the completion of the encircling of the city but noted that at least 10 brigades – 20,000 - 25,000 troops – would be needed to surround the city.

The Pentagon estimates ISIL has 5,000 – 8,000 fighters in Mosul.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Nisan 2016, 09:25