The effort to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS began this this morning under the light of the moon. The offensive, backed by American airstrikes, is one of the biggest military operations in Iraq since 2003. Up to 8,000 ISIS fighters and 1.5 million citizens are thought to be inside #Mosul, Iraq’s 2nd-largest city. If Mosul falls, ISIS’s last city stronghold will be Raqqa, in Syria. About 4,000 Kurdish pesh merga troops are involved in the opening phase of the battle, an operation to retake 10 villages. And Iraqi counterterrorism forces, which work closely with American Special Operations commandos in Iraq, are expected to join the Kurdish forces later this week. “The day’s gains were relatively modest compared to the daunting task ahead,” wrote @bdentonphoto, who is documenting the operation while on #nytassignment. Follow @bdentonphoto to see more photos from Iraq.
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