A coalition of security forces, led by the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, have begun an offensive to retake a stronghold of the so-called Islamic State.
Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky confirmed the action on his Facebook page Monday morning saying that security forces have been “waiting to liberate Mosul for two years, and today is the day.”
Mosul is ISIS’ largest and last remaining stronghold in Iraq.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve, says in a YouTube video this may be a tough battle and there’s no telling how long it will last.
“But the Iraqis have prepared for it and we will stand by them. The Iraqi security forces and the coalition are not only fighting for the future of Iraq, we are fighting to ensure the security of all of our nations.”
He says the result of this fight will have repercussions on terrorist networks globally.
“This liberation battle comes after two years of Daesh oppression in Mosul, during which they committed horrible atrocities, brutalized the people and asserted the city was one of their twin capitals. ISIL’s cruelty and reach has shown that they are not just a threat to Iraq and Syria, but to the region and the entire world.”
101st Airborne were deployed in March to train ISF combat troops as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. 1,300 troops from Fort Campbell were in the initial deployment, 400 more were added in August.