After what seemed to be a successful launch of the long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul in Northern Iraq from the Islamic State militants who have declared it the ground zero of their short-lived caliphate, progress is said to have slowed. According to reports from both Military news and the AP, Iraqi and Kurdish commanders have admitted to pausing the advance on the country’s second largest city only one full day after the push commenced.

The fight is expected to take weeks or months

The Commander of the Iraqi Kurdish forces, Col. Khathar Sheikhan, was quoted as saying that he and his Peshmerga soldiers are simply holding their positions.

This comes a day after heavy front line fighting and massive U.S.-led airstrikes combined with barrages of heavy artillery. Sheikhan also said that while the Peshmerga digs in, it is now up to the regular Iraqi army to advance forward. He added that his initial objectives have been met. However, an unidentified Iraqi special forces commander said that his troops have presently delayed their advance since the Kurdish forces need more time to achieve their objectives. Whatever the case, all forces agree that because of the house-to-house fighting that is sure to occur in the center of Mosul, the battle to free the city of ISIS will likely take weeks or months.

Excellent progress

Despite conflicting interpretations on the state of the offensive thus far, a spokesman for the U.S. led coalition, which includes a significant number of American Special Forces and even AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships, said the operation is succeeding as planned.

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But Iraqi Special Forces Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil, expressed frustration when he said that he’d expected to start moving his men at dawn, but was forced to put off the push. He further stated that a strategy session between Iraqi army and Kurdish commanders was planned for late Tuesday.

Iraqi Prime Minister vows to free Mosul of extremist radical rule    

Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister made the announcement prior to the dawn on Monday morning, October 17, that the much anticipated coalition offensive had indeed begun. During the declaration he vowed to liberate the embattled city from its two years of extremist rule and to return the city to its more than two million citizens. The shared goal among Iraqi forces and al-Abadi is not to level Mosul, but to leave as much of the infrastructure in place as possible. The city is the last Iraq stronghold held by the murderous ISIS. While the U.S. is providing air support, more than 25,000 ground troops, including Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni tribal fighters, and Shiite militia have joined the fight.

There is no ‘pause’

U.S. Col. John Dorrian, taking deference to the claim that the assault has stalled, said that there is in fact, no ‘pause’ in the offensive. If there’s a slow up, it just means that some battlefield commanders have reached their objectives ahead of others due to what’s described as light-to-moderate resistance. But the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division which was able to reach the al-Hamdaniyah township, just south of Mosul, were stopped in their tracks due to suicide bombers and heavy sniper fire. According to Aamaq News, the ISIS run news agency, ISIS has thus far successfully carried out at least 12 suicide attacks since the offense began while at the same time, halting the Iraqi advance. Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, scores of followers of an Iraqi Shiite clerk marched on the Turkish embassy demanding the Turkish troop withdrawal from Mosul. The followers see Turkey as a potential occupying force when hostilities with ISIS finally comes to an end.