[Both Erdogan and the Saudis are making threats against Iranian militias in Mosul, which they consider a Sunni city (SEE: Saudi Arabia urges Iraq not to let Shia militias into Mosul).]
[CNN reports that 90,000 Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish Troops involved in Mosul offensive.]
The full text of his address follows:Today is a historical day. It has been a long time since there were so many meetings between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to liberate Mosul.We met with Prime Minister Abadi during our visit to Baghdad and we decided to begin the operation. And today at 6am we began the liberation process and it is successful so far. We have liberated 200 square kilometres so far. This is the first step in the liberation as a joint military offensive between Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army.
I would like to thank the international coalition for all the support they have provided. I would like to extend my appreciation and congratulations to the Peshmerga and all the Iraqi forces for their heroic mission.
This is the first time the blood of the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces are mixed. We hope it’s a good start to create a bright future for both sides.
We hope Mosul will be liberated through this offensive, but that does not mean it’s the end of terror. It’s also a sign that Baghdad and Erbil should coordinate with the support of coalition forces.
We assure the Mosul citizens that they will be safe and they will return to their normal life. We hope there will be no revenge between powers or anyone.
In the end, I would like to express my condolences to all martyrs and wounded forces. I pray the injured recover quickly.
Barzani added the following statements in reply to reporters’ questions:
“This is the first time the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces have coordinated to fight an enemy in one place.”
“The roles of the Iraqi forces and our forces was well planned – where we will be and where they will be during and after the operation. I do not think there will be any disputes between us and the central government over disputed areas.”
“We agreed to launch a joint committee to deal with any political issues that may arise after the Mosul operation.”
“There is good coordination between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces. The achievements of today were proof of this.”
“We believe there should be an understanding between Baghdad and Ankara,” he said in answer to a question regarding the involvement of Turkish troops in the Mosul battle.
“The coordination between Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga will continue and we expect the process be a long one. It is just the beginning of the operation. We are ready for any kind of coordination.”
“Iraqi forces went to Ramadi without the Peshmerga forces. The role of both Iraqi and Peshmerga forces are clear and we are ready to provide any kind of support that is required from us.”
“I cannot say how long the operation will take, but we are ready for as long as it takes.”
When asked about the trenches built from Tal Afar, in the north, to Khanaqin, in the southern reaches of the Kurdistan Region, Barzani answered, “We have built trenches to keep ISIS militants at bay.”
“1.8 million internally displaced persons are settled in the Kurdistan Region and we expect more to flee to the Kurdistan Region. This is beyond the capacity of the Kurdistan Regional Government. We have discussed this with the United Nations and we have raised our concerns, so more support should be provided.”
“We will not let Mosul be another Aleppo,” Barzani added.
“I want to point out one thing – no forces in the world could have obtained a victory with the kind of weapons we are fighting with.”