Iraq PM tells Mosul residents: ‘Victory is near’

In a radio address to residents, Haider al-Abadi pledged to recapture the city from ISIS militants

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said “victory is near” as he pledged to recapture Mosul from militants, in a radio address to residents of the city on Tuesday. It was the first such address by Abadi, though it was unclear how many residents of Mosul, which was seized by ISIS in 2014, heard his remarks, as the militants have sought to limit communication with the outside world.

“Today we are close to you, and you are close to us, and victory is near, with God’s help,” Abadi said, according to a copy of his remarks distributed by his office. “Today we are advancing and tomorrow we will be victorious together, and then we will work together to bring back life and services and stability to every city and village,” he said.

Abadi also called for Mosul residents to cooperate with Iraqi security forces, and said that: “You are today closer than any previous time to being rescued from the injustice and tyranny and cruelty of ISIS.”

The United States and its allies must think carefully before launching an offensive to retake Mosul, Turkey’s defense minister said on Tuesday, saying it could trigger an exodus of one million more refugees.

Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim described plans for the expected assault on Iraq’s second largest city as “not transparent”, underscoring what appears to be growing concern from a NATO ally about the operation.

Defence Minister Fikri Isik said any refugee flows out of Mosul, a city of more than two million people that has been in the hands of Islamic State since 2014, needed to be contained within Iraq’s borders. “The migration should be absorbed in Iraq’s territory. Otherwise it will impose a large burden on Turkey and that will affect Europe.”

(With inputs from Reuters)

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