image Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi addresses the media in Ankara December 25, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4J8X5

Iraq’s PM al-Abadi declares second stage of offensive to retake the western part of Islamic State-held Mosul.

Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi announced that Iraqi troops had begun moving toward the Western part of Mosul, where Islamic State militants are essentially under siege, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians. The offensive to retake the Western part of the city comes after US backed forces, that initially started an offensive several months ago, forced the extreme Muslim group from the eastern part of the city as part of the first stage of the offensive. 

“We are announcing the start of a new phase of “We are Coming Nineveh Operations” to liberate the right side of Mosul city as we had liberated other areas. We call on our brave troops to start the push to liberate the rest of the city and to liberate people from the oppression and terrorism of Daesh. Our main mission is to liberate the people before liberating the land. You have done a great job by liberating other areas, by taking care of people, including the displaced people, and by providing services for them. We reiterate as we said before, the importance of taking care of people and dealing with them in a humanitarian way and providing all the necessary requirements for the displaced people as you did before, you brave fighters,” Haidar al Abadi, Iraqi Prime Minister

The offensive to eradicate the Islamic State from the city of Mosul, the extreme Muslim group’s last major city in Iraq, is the location where its leader – Abu Baqer el-Baghdadi – declared his Islamic State. The defeat of the Islamic State in Mosul would effectively end the group’s hold in Iraq, and will allow all forces to turn their attention to Syria.