Iraqi and Kurdish forces say they have retaken a dozen villages outside Mosul, as they press to reclaim Iraq's second largest city from IS (Islamic State) militants, the VOA (Voice of America) website reports today (October 18, 2016).
The long-awaited offensive -- backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition, and involving Sunni tribal forces and Shi'ite militias -- continued on its second day today.
Fighting remains on the outskirts of Mosul, and the advances on three fronts are moving forward with the objective of retaking the city from IS.
U.S. President Barack Obama -- speaking in Washington today -- said Mosul will be a "difficult fight" but expressed confidence that IS will be defeated in the city. He added that since a million civilians still live in Mosul, we must also focus on the safety and humanitarian aid for these civilians.