Iraq PM says retaking Mosul from IS `can be done`

Iraq`s premier expressed confidence Friday that the country`s struggling army is capable of retaking the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 24, 2015, 00:36 AM IST

Baghdad: Iraq`s premier expressed confidence Friday that the country`s struggling army is capable of retaking the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The chief problem, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told a gathering of political and economic leaders in Davos, is that Iraqi forces in the area are currently split and need to join up.

"That`s why we are fighting now to make sure that that road link is connected and open for our forces to move forward," he said.

"We need to have a liaison between the rest of the Iraqi forces and (Kurdish) peshmerga and the coalition partners, and it can be done," said Abadi, claiming that IS fighters` morale was running low.

"In some instances the (IS) fighters just flee, they don`t fight," he said.

Asked by a moderator at the Davos event to confirm reports that half of the IS leadership have been eliminated, Abadi said: "Yes we have seen that."

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the United States and Iraq -- whose army is undergoing training by US and other foreigner instructors -- want to retake Mosul by this summer.

US air strikes have recently focused on putting pressure on Mosul. Kurdish peshmerga forces have also launched successful offensives against IS-held roads near Mosul, which is in the north of the country.

The city once held well over a million people but now is likely a fraction of that size.