War with Isis: Attempt to recapture Mosul will be an 'Iraqi only mission', says Defence Minister

The city is the largest under the control of insurgents

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The Independent Online

Iraq’s defence minister has said only Baghdad will decide the time and scale of any attempt to recapture Mosul, after US officials sent conflicting signals about the offensive.

Mosul is the largest city under the control of Isis insurgents. Its recapture would be a pivotal victory for Baghdad. “The liberation process will be purely Iraqi in terms of forces, timing, weapons and equipment,” Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi told a news conference in Baghdad, alongside visiting Turkish counterpart Ismet Yilmaz.

“No one (else) has anything to do with it. This is our battle, the battle of the Iraqi army,” Mr Obeidi said. “The role of the US-led coalition is to provide air support”

A US Central Command official said two weeks ago that the offensive could start in April or May, using 20,000 to 25,000 troops. US officials have since suggested that timing could slip to the autumn. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday the original briefing was inaccurate.