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>> The US led war on Islamic State has depleted the group's funds, leadership, and foreign fighters, but the biggest battle yet is expected to take place later this year, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where a modern day caliphate was declared more than two years ago. I'm Reuters reporter, Stephen Kalin in Baghdad.
I've just returned from a visit at the front line south of Mosul where Iraqi forces are gearing up for a battle to retake the city later this year. The push on Mosul comes as an array of US backed forces in Iraq and Syria and really across the region have been pushing back against Islamic state, taking a lot of the territory that was seized back in 2014.
We could be looking at it and a push on Mosul itself as early as the end of October. There are certain things that could delay that if Islamic state puts up a bigger fight in some of these Outlying villages. Prime Minister has made it clear that he wants to retake Mosul later this year.
He has pretty much staked his record on this. The Americans are also saying that this now looks possible. So we're expecting in the coming weeks and months to see a pretty large battle in Mosul. Of course, it's not clear whether Islamic state will put up a big fight in the city.
And it is one of their defacto capitals. But they may also be fleeing over to Syria across the border of Syria, or sort of melting into the local population so that they can live another day and wage more of an insurgent war against the Iraqi government.