While the Iraqi Defense Ministry expressed annoyance at the Pentagon for announcing, then cancelling, plans for an April offensive against Mosul, their own officials are also downplaying the chances for a near-term offensive.
“There is no timeline,” one Defense Ministry official said, adding that “some people are talking about June, but it depends on the success of the Iraqi forces.”
Officials are keen to retake the major city from ISIS, but while US officials say they figure there are only 1,000 to 2,000 ISIS fighters there, there is little confidence Iraqi troops could retake the city, let alone hold it afterward.
Kurdish officials say holding the city would be the biggest challenge, and noted that the Peshmerga is increasingly tied up trying to hold territory along the frontier with ISIS.
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