Iraqi Kurdistan Region's leader Masoud Barzani says time has come to retake Mosul from the clutches of Daesh terrorists.
"All preparations for the battle to liberate Mosul have been completed," said Barzani in a statement posted on the Kurdish regional presidency's website on Saturday.
Iraqi Kurdish troops are expected to have a key role in the upcoming battle for Mosul, the country's second city, which has been held by the Daesh since June 2014.
"The time has come to begin the liberation of Mosul," said Barzani on his twitter account.
Iraqi forces are gearing up for the ultimate push to liberate Mosul, with recent reports showing that troops are in position and waiting an official green-light to start their offensive.
Based on intelligence information, Daesh has around reportedly between 4,000 and 5,000 terrorists in the city, making the situation more complicated.
Turks not welcome in battle for Mosul: Iraqi PM
On Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reiterated his vow to not permit the presence of Turkish troops in the battle to retake the city.
“Neither Turkish nor any foreign forces will be allowed to take part in the planning or ground operations relating to the retaking of Mosul, only Iraqi forces will do so,” he said during a televised speech.
He added that the “presence of Turkish troops in north Iraq is a transgression against the sovereignty of Iraq since it did not come in response to a request from the Iraqi government.”
Abadi has on multiple occasions asserted that all troops participating in the Mosul offensive are from Iraq, and no foreigners would be among them, adding that the US-led coalition would only support the operation.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the Iraqi government cannot push the Daesh terror group out of Mosul alone, expressing Ankara’s readiness to take part in the planned military operation to liberate the city.
Speaking at a ceremony in the Black Sea town of Rize on Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey would never “let Mosul be given to Daesh or any other terrorist organization.”
The US and Saudi Arabia have reportedly agreed to grant Daesh terrorists free passage from Mosul ahead of the major operation to recapture the northern city.