Iraqi forces leading the battle for Mosul spent the first day dislodging ISIL from a dozen or so villages some 20 km outside Iraq’s second largest city.
According to the Pentagon which is providing special operations and air support as part of a coalition of forces, the fight could take a while depending on whether ISIL stands and fights.
“We are in the first day of what we assume will be a difficult campaign that could take some time. Early indications are that Iraqi forces have met their objectives so far and that they are ahead of schedule for this first day. This is going according to the Iraqi plan, but again, it’s early and the enemy gets a vote here,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.
Along with 54,000 Iraqi troops there are 40,000 Kurdish Peshmerga involved in fight. One report said roadside bombs had held up progress in some instances.
During the two years ISIL have been in Mosul they are believed to have built defences, dug tunnels and booby trapped buildings in preparation for the battle which their leaders knew one day would come.
UNICEF (@UNICEF) October 17, 2016