Iraqi troops alongside Kurdish peshmerga fighters and U.S. forces are getting into Mosul to retake the city from the Islamic State. Iraqi soldiers broke I.S. defenses in a suburb of the city Monday and brought the battle against ISIL to one of the terrorists main strongholds.

This is the first time the troops fighting against the Islamic State managed to get into Mosul, a work that took two weeks of capturing Christian and Sunni Muslim villages and towns outside the city. The retake of Mosul will be more challenging than fighting the Islamic State in those villages near the city considering Mosul is still home to 1.5 million people. The Christian and Sunni Muslim communities recently won to I.S. were almost empty.

Kurdish security forces take up a position as they fight overlooking the Islamic State-controlled in villages surrounding Mosul. Image Credit: AP Photo/WTOP

Men of the Iraqi army’s Counter-Terrorism service (CTS) are now on Gogjali, a Mosul industrial zone located east of the city’s outskirts. Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, the commander of CTS forces east of the city, stated to Iraqi media that his troops had reached the Karama district inside Mosul.

Since there are more than a million civilians under the Islamic State oppression, the Iraqi government and the U.S. are hoping for an uprising. If people start a rebellion on I.S. armed men in Mosul, the military operation will have more chances to quickly retake the city. The city was declared a “caliphate” in 2014 by the Islamic State, who says they are going to rule over all Muslims.

Mosul is one of the largest cities held by I.S. and the 1.5 million people in the city could be displaced because of the military operation. The United Nations has warned the world about the probabilities of at least one million displaced people, which would require the world’s largest humanitarian operation to save those lives.

The military operation to defeat the Islamic State in Mosul includes some 50,000 Iraqi troops, police officers, Kurdish peshmerga, Iran-backed Shi’ite militia fighters, and air and ground support from the U.S.-led coalition, Reuters report.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces started their attack to the insurgents on October 17 with air and ground support from the U.S. The surroundings of Mosul were only the first step to the largest military operation in Iraq since the invasion that sought Saddam Hussein in 2013.

Commanders on the scene stated that the battle for Mosul could take months. Others fear that this battle could become the next Aleppo. But if the battle is won by the Iraqi, Kurdish and U.S. cooperation, the victory will gain significant territory in Iraq, making ISIL lose about have of their territories in the country.

Battle: Iraqi forces flash the sign for victory as they deploy in the area of al-Shourah, some 45 kms south of Mosul Image Credit: AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubayeahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

The Islamic State response to the effort to retake Mosul: Hiding behind civilians

I.S. forces have responded the recent attacks with suicide car bombs, snipers, and open fire. The terrorist group has been using civilians from the villages near Mosul as “human shields” to retreat to the city, said U.N. officials.

Another tactic to face the current military operation against them is setting oil on fire to create smokescreens to escape to the center of Mosul. The I.S. move is choking the region in smoke and civilians are already suffering the consequences. Residents’ health is being affected by the smoke. People in Mosul are not only in danger because of the bullets and explosive that come with an armed confrontation, but also because of the polluted environment the battle will create.

People in Mosul are not only in danger because of the bullets and explosive that come with an armed confrontation, but also because of the polluted environment the battle will create.

Source: Reuters