Nancy Youseef, Daily Beast: This Is Where the Next Battle Against ISIS Will Be
Taking Hawijah would deprive ISIS of a place to flee to. That’s why it’ll be next.
Before Iraqi forces launch their highly anticipated offensive to retake the nation’s second-largest city, Mosul, back from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, they have one last battle ahead of them—reclaiming the Iraqi city of Hawijah from ISIS control, two defense officials told The Daily Beast.
Hawijah is one of the last ISIS bastions on the road toward Mosul, and in recent weeks the terror group has been unable to hold such cities under its grip, dedicating most of its resources to keeping Mosul instead, the officials said.
Hawijah, which at its peak had 450,000 residents, is a Sunni-dominated city that sits in the part of the Tigris River valley that Iraqi security forces initially bypassed in the push toward the city of Qayyarah, south of Mosul. In Qayyarah, the Iraqis set up a base where several hundred U.S. forces now are based, providing logistical support.
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WNU Editor: According to this post the battle for Mosul will begin in November .... maybe.