UNITED NATIONS – The UN envoy for Iraq says the liberation of Mosul “is imminent” and the days of the Islamic State extremist groups self-declared caliphate “are numbered.”
But Jan Kubis told the Security Council on Monday that lasting progress fighting remains “a tremendous challenge,” with IS fighters increasingly using civilians as human shields.
He said operations are shifting to the remaining areas and pockets where IS extremists are still present including along the border with Syria.
Kubis said a dual focus must be maintained on the immediate challenges of defeating the extremist group and preparing for the liberation, stabilization and rehabilitation of Iraq.
Iraqi forces, backed by the US-led coalition, officially launched the operation to retake Mosul in October. The east was liberated in January and the fight for the west continues.