Diplomats from the U.S., Iraq and some 20 other countries are meeting to make a stabilization plan for Mosul, as the international military operation to free the Iraqi city from Islamic State extremists intensifies.

French President Francois Hollande is hosting Thursday's talks in Paris, aimed at coming up with a plan to protect civilians, distribute aid and address questions about governing areas newly liberated from IS.

The offensive for Mosul — Iraq's second-largest city and a bastion for IS — is expected to take weeks, if not months, and some fear it could unleash sectarian tensions.

French authorities believe attacks on French soil in recent years have been plotted from IS strongholds in Syria and Iraq. French warplanes and artillery are involved in the multi-pronged battle for Mosul.