A USA and an Iraqi government official say Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in talks with the Trump administration to keep American troops in Iraq after the fight against the Islamic State group in the country is concluded. Our correspondent Altaf Ahmad reports.
In addition, two of the militants died when they detonated their vests at the entrance to the K1 base overnight, and three more were killed by Kurdish peshmerga forces who control the Kirkuk area where it is situated.
Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army Osman Ghanimi has said that the operation to recapture the entire area of western Mosul will be completed within a month.
The United Nations estimates that more than half a million civilians have fled Mosul since the offensive on the country's second city began.
"The president has delegated the authority for Force Management Levels (FML) for Iraq and Syria to the [Defense] Secretary [James Mattis]", said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis, as cited by ABC.
But just three years after the last USA soldier left, on June 10, 2014, ISIS troops stormed Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and easily claimed control of the city as numerous US-trained Iraqi forces stationed there took off their uniforms and fled.
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"I don't anticipate that we'll be asked to leave by the government of Iraq immediately after Mosul", said.
Iraqi forces have advanced to the northern edge of west Mosul, freeing and evacuating dozens of civilians who had been under the control of Islamic State (IS) extremists, military commanders say.
The increased returns are likely the result of a gradual restoration of basic services, including education, electricity, and safe drinking water, as well as the resumption of local markets in eastern Mosul neighborhoods. Gen. Joseph Martin, commander of ground forces for the USA -led coalition.
The US official said there is no talk of "creating independent American bases in Iraq", as the move would require thousands more personnel. The mosque holds major importance to the terrorist group, as it is the site where ISIS leader Abu-Bakr Al-Bagdadi first declared the formation of the caliphate in 2014.
The recapture of Mosul by the Iraqi security forces would deal a death blow to the "caliphate" IS proclaimed over large parts of Syria and Iraq almost three years ago.
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