US commander: Mosul and Raqqa should be retaken in 6 months

CAMP TAJI, Iraq (AP) – The top U.S. commander in Iraq says he expects to retake Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria from the Islamic State group within the next six months and the fight for western Mosul to begin in days.

On a tour north of Baghdad Wednesday, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said “within the next six months I think we’ll see both (the Mosul and Raqqa campaigns) conclude.”

Townsend, who heads the U.S.-led coalition against IS, said Iraq’s military is still in the process of putting forces into place ahead of the push into western Mosul, but predicted operations would begin “in the next few days.”

Iraqi forces declared Mosul’s east “fully liberated” in January after launching the operation to retake the city in October.

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