Iraq’s Kurdish peshmerga forces are not yet ready to wrest the city of Mosul back from the jihadist fighters who captured it on June 10, a top leader said Wednesday.
“A certain number of conditions need to be met before launching any battle, and they are not met yet,” Roz Nuri Shaways told AFP.
Shaways is Iraq’s newly appointed finance minister but is also a senior commander in the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
He leads peshmerga forces that retook seven Christian villages from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in the Nineveh plain, about 30 kilometres east of Mosul, on Tuesday.
He said “the balance of power is still in the enemy’s favour” and that more equipment was needed for any operation aimed at retaking Mosul, the main city in northern Iraq which once had a population of close to two million.
“In Mosul, we need real cooperation, close cooperation with the international community,” Shaways said.
“We need substantial and sustained military assistance and equipment, weapons and ammunition. First and foremost, we need a political process in Iraq,” he said.
Several countries have started delivering weapons to the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, whose forces have been at the forefront of efforts to claw back territory seized by jihadists since June.
US fighter jets and drones have carried out more than 160 strikes since August 8, mostly in support of Kurdish forces in northern Iraq.
Shaways confirmed that US strikes were instrumental in taking back the Christian villages.
“We worked in coordination with the Americans… When we needed them during the fighting, they got involved,” he said.