Iraqi security forces gather on the outskirt of Al Qayyarah, Iraq, August 15, 2016.REUTERS/Stringer
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Iraq has promised to recapture Mosul by year's end and U.S. top brass have hinted an operation could start next month, but the offensive to retake the militant bastion faces serious challenges.But before Iraqi forces can enter and retake the city, there are an array of complex military, political and humanitarian challenges to surmount, meaning that even if the operation begins next month, it is likely to take weeks or months to fully complete.Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford, said that Iraqi forces will be ready for the push by "early October," while Gen. Joe Votel, the head of the U.S. Central Command, said the city can be retaken by year's end.Then, if Iraqi strategy for Mosul follows that used in previous operations, they will seek to surround and seal off the city prior to an assault.
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