A few weeks before Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched their offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State group jihadists, our reporters in Iraq witnessed the final preparations for the strategic battle.
FRANCE 24 brings you an exclusive report, filmed at the end of August in northern Iraq.
Our reporters travelled to the Kurdish front line, where block by block, the Peshmerga have retaken eleven villages around Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq and the stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) group since June 2014. Our team also went to Qayyarah, a town located around 60 km south of Mosul, where the Iraqi army has set up its rear area position and was busy preparing for the offensive on Mosul.
The operation to drive out thousands of jihadists from the north Iraqi city began overnight on Monday October 17. The crucial battle could last "several weeks, maybe months", French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday. It will be "a difficult fight'", US President Barack Obama admitted.
FRANCE 24's reporters witnessed the offensive's final planning, alongside Kurdish and Arab troops, rival forces now joined to fight a common enemy. As the noose tightens around them, the IS group jihadists use all sorts of tactics - suicide attacks, car bombings, landmines and torched oil wells - to repel the offensive on Mosul and thwart the US air strikes.