Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Iraqi forces need three months to completely destroy Daesh as a large-scale operation is underway to liberate the northern city of Mosul, the Takfiri terrorist group’s last major stronghold in the Arab country.
"Conditions indicate that Iraq needs three months to eliminate Daesh," Abadi told state TV on Tuesday.
However, US Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend claimed on Monday that it will take at least two years to purge militants from Iraq and Syria.
Asked about the assertion, the Iraqi premier said, "The Americans were very pessimistic. They used to talk about a really long period, but the remarkable successes achieved by our brave and heroic fighters reduced that. I foresee that in Iraq it will take three months."
On October 17, Iraqi army troops and allied fighters launched a long-awaited offensive to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that fell to Daesh in 2014.
Over the past weeks, Daesh has suffered major setbacks on the battlefield amid advances made by the Iraqi forces.
A quarter of Mosul is said to have been liberated from the grip of terrorists so far, but the operation has slowed down amid concerns over civilian lives.
Last week, US Air Force Brigadier General Matthew Isler said the Iraqi forces have entered an "operational refit,” which includes resupplying arms and repairing their vehicles to prepare for the next stage of the Mosul battle.
Iraqi government spokesperson Saad al-Hadithi told the Kurdish Rudaw TV that the pace of the fight has been reduced, adding, "Now Iraqi forces are resuming the battle to liberate the rest and fully take control of the city.”
Defeating Daesh in Mosul would be a crushing blow to the Takfiri group that began its campaign of terror in northern and western Iraq more than two years ago.