More than 400 additional US troops have been deployed to Iraq in recent days as government forces together with volunteer fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are gearing up for a major offensive to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from Takfiri Daesh militants.
Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the so-called US-led coalition allegedly fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria, said that the number of American soldiers in Iraq has increased from about 4,000 a week ago to 4,460.
Dorrian said an estimated 3,000 to 4,500 Daesh militants are currently in Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, noting that it is hard to say how many of them are “hardcore” militants.
He, however, stopped short of providing information about the task that the American soldiers would undertake in Iraq.
Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the new commander of the US-led coalition, told business-focused, English-language international dailyThe Wall Street Journal late on Wednesday that the operation to liberate Mosul from Daesh could start within the next month.
There are speculations that Iraqi security forces and their allies would push from the southern part of Mosul, while Kurdish Peshmerga forces would attack from the north in a multi-pronged operation.
Mosul fell into the hands of the Takfiri terrorists in June 2014, when they began a large-scale offensive in Iraq.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive there more than two years ago, and took control of portions of Iraqi territory.
The militants have been committing heinous crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.
Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.