Iraqi coalition comes together to fight IS group in Mosul, but can unity last?

FRANCE 24 screen grab

A coalition that includes members of the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and Sunni militias is set to launch an offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group’s stronghold of Mosul. The campaign’s actors told France 24 that preserving their unity will be as tough a challenge as retaking the city. Falah Mustafa, the foreign minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, gives us his reaction to our report.

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Mosul is the largest city in the IS group's self-proclaimed caliphate. It was captured by the jihadists in 2014 when Iraqi security forces dropped their weapons and fled.

Since then, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have entrenched themselves in the eastern and northern outskirts of the city while retrained Iraqi forces have advanced to Qayyara, around 60 km south of the city.

Iraq’s international allies, including France, are also expected to play a major part in the forthcoming battle. But the roles played by Sunni and Shiite militias allied with Baghdad have proven more contentious.

The ethnically and religiously diverse makeup of the city poses major challenges to war planners, who are trying to determine which forces will participate in the battle and as well as decide how they will manage the delicate balance in its aftermath.

To watch FRANCE 24’s full report by journalists Orianne Verdier and Stéphane Kenech click on the player above.

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