US President Barack Obama warned of a “difficult fight” ahead as Iraqi military forces move to liberate the city of Mosul, but expressed confidence that Daesh terrorists will be defeated.
“The start of Iraqi operations to liberate Mosul is another major step forward,” Obama said Tuesday at a White House news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
“I am confident that ISIL will be defeated in Mosul and that will be another step toward their ultimate destruction,” he added.
Obama predicted that there would be “advances” and “setbacks” as the military campaign goes forward.
Equally important, the president said, is preparing for any humanitarian crisis that could happen as large numbers of civilians begin to flee the violence.
“Perhaps one million civilians are still living there,” he said. “In addition to rooting out ISIL, our focus is on the safety and humanitarian aid for civilians escaping the fight….