Last updated: 23 January, 2015

Iraq PM says retaking Mosul from IS can be done

Iraq's premier expressed confidence Friday that the country's struggling army is capable of retaking the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The chief problem, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told a gathering of political and economic leaders in Davos, is that Iraqi forces in the area are currently split and need to join up.

“That’s why we are fighting now to make sure that that road link is connected and open for our forces to move forward,” he said.

“We need to have a liaison between the rest of the Iraqi forces and (Kurdish) peshmerga and the coalition partners, and it can be done,” said Abadi, claiming that IS fighters’ morale was running low.

“In some instances the (IS) fighters just flee, they don’t fight,” he said.

Asked by a moderator at the Davos event to confirm reports that half of the IS leadership have been eliminated, Abadi said: “Yes we have seen that.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the United States and Iraq — whose army is undergoing training by US and other foreigner instructors — want to retake Mosul by this summer.

US air strikes have recently focused on putting pressure on Mosul. Kurdish peshmerga forces have also launched successful offensives against IS-held roads near Mosul, which is in the north of the country.

The city once held well over a million people but now is likely a fraction of that size.