Troops are set to back the Iraqi forces in an upcoming offensive to dislodge ISIS in Anbar’s western town of Qaem and areas around the military base. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces currently control over one third of western Mosul and are pushing deeper into the city, encountering fierce counter-attacks from the ultra-hardline group that has slowed progress. The assault on Mosul, the jihadists’ last major stronghold in Iraq, was launched by a 100,000-strong alliance of local forces on Oct. 17 that has become the biggest military operation in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. The offensive to recapture west Mosul started three weeks ago.
The Albanian government has plans to deploy troops to Iraq as part of the counter-Islamic State efforts, the Albanian Defense Minister announced on Monday: “We are talking about a voluntary mission in which Albania has helped already in different ways, but not with a military presence”, the Albanian Defense Minister Mimi Kodheli said, being quoted by Balkans Insight. The initiative is reportedly in response to a request by the Trump administration to assist the global anti-ISIS coalition. “We are going to bring to parliament very soon a draft law to open the way to the presence of [Albanian] soldiers in the global coalition against ISIS”, Kodheli said.