Iraq Defense Ministry: Only Iraqi troops to participate in Mosul operations

An Iraqi official has denied reports about the participation of foreign troops in an anticipated offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from Daesh.
“Troops participating in the plan to liberate Iraqi cities, including Mosul, are purely Iraqi,” the Defense Ministry official told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
He insisted that no foreign troops were taking part in any ground offensive against Daesh in Iraq.
Media reports earlier said the Pentagon was seeking to send another 500 troops to Iraq ahead of the Mosul offensive.
There are nearly 4,470 US troops in Iraq.

Brigadier-general Yehia Rasoul, a spokesman for the joint operations command, said only Iraqi forces and allied local fighters were taking part in the anti-Daesh operations.
“The presence of the international coalition forces is meant for intelligence exchange, carrying out airstrikes against Daesh and training and arming Iraqi forces,” he said.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.

In recent months, the Iraqi army -- backed by coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- has managed to retake much territory from Daesh.
Iraqi forces this week captured the Shirqat district in northern Iraq from Daesh militants ahead of the planned operation to retake Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year’s end.

By Ali Jawwad