- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

President Obama anticipates Iraqi forces to retake Mosul from Islamic State control by the end of 2016.

“My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” Mr. Obama said Monday in an interview with CBS News.

However, Mr. Obama reiterated that to create those conditions for Iraqi forces to drive Islamic State from the country’s second largest city, the United States and its allies must continue to provide support for those forces.

“As we see the Iraqis willing to fight and gaining ground we must make sure that we are providing them more support,” Mr. Obama said.

The president’s comments came shortly after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that over 200 U.S. troops backed by additional American air power and a shipment of heavy weapons would be heading to Iraq to support the Mosul offensive.

Iraqi forces, with direct support American warplanes and a number of U.S.-manned “firebases,” have laid siege to areas in and around the city in preparation for the final push to wrest it from Islamic State control.

However, that offensive has bogged down over the last several weeks, prompting the White House to send in additional American support.

Along with the 217 U.S. special operations troops and military trainers, Army Apache attack helicopters and a long-range rocket system are also being deployed into Iraq to provide close air support for Iraqi forces advancing on Mosul.

“We have to be more aggressive in the moves we make” against Islamic State in Iraq, Mr. Carter said in a Monday interview with NBC News during an official visit to Baghdad.

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