Middle East

Top Iraqi commander: Mosul could be liberated in 3 months

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, file photo, the Commander of the Joint Military Operation Commander, Army Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati, speaks with the media in the town of Khazer, Iraq. The top Iraqi commander says the operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group could be complete in three months or less. Shaghati warns it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of how long the operation will take because it is not a conventional fight. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, file photo, the Commander of the Joint Military Operation Commander, Army Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati, speaks with the media in the town of Khazer, Iraq. The top Iraqi commander says the operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group could be complete in three months or less. Shaghati warns it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of how long the operation will take because it is not a conventional fight. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi soldiers gather for tea offered to them by residents of a neighborhood recently liberated from Islamic State militants on the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraqi soldiers gather for tea offered to them by residents of a neighborhood recently liberated from Islamic State militants on the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

A top Iraqi commander says the operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group could be complete in three months or less.

Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati said in an interview with the AP on Tuesday evening that "It's possible" Mosul will be liberated in three months or less. But he warned it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of how long the operation will take because it is not a conventional fight.

"There are many variables," he said, describing the combat as "guerrilla warfare."

The massive offensive that involves some 30,000 Iraqi forces was launched in October. Although Iraqi leaders originally pledged the city would be retaken before 2017, as the fight enters its fourth month only about one third is under government control.