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Iraq to Focus on Recapturing Mosul

  • Mohamed Elshinnawi

FILE - Iraqi security forces celebrate as they hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured in Ramadi, Iraq.

FILE - Iraqi security forces celebrate as they hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured in Ramadi, Iraq.

Iraq's ambassador to the United States tells VOA Iraqi forces will now focus on retaking Mosul after completely recapturing Ramadi from Islamic State.

Lukman Faily spoke to VOA Tuesday, saying that like the situation in Ramadi, the battle for Mosul is an Iraqi fight and not one for foreign forces.

"We have not asked the United States for troops and there was clear agreement from both capitals that the fight should be led by the Iraqis, Faily said. "We don't need boots on the ground or combat forces."

Faily said Iraqis have been grateful for cooperation so far from the U.S.-led coalition, but he said more is needed to complete the job.

"We need to have close collaboration, we need other countries to have a clear sense of urgency as we do have. So when you say we are satisfied, I think the only satisfaction we will get is when we get rid of ISIS (Islamic State) once and for all."

Watch Ambassador Faily's interview with VOA:

In Washington Tuesday, Marine Corps Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee the operation to take Mosul will be very complex.

"I'm not as optimistic that we'll be able to turn that in the near term, in my view, certainly not this year," he said.

WATCH: Iraqis Complete Recapture of Ramadi from Islamic State

Clearing bombs

Iraqi forces are now dealing with the thousands of bombs the terrorists planted throughout Ramadi when they had control of the city and surrounding areas.

Iraq first declared Ramadi liberated in December when Islamic State was pushed out of the center of the city. But it took until this week for Iraqi forces to say the city is completely in their hands.

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes helped the Iraqis drive out the militants.

Islamic State seized Ramadi last May in what was a huge blow to the government and military.

The city is nearly empty of civilians and U.N. officials say the level of destruction left behind is staggering.


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