Top US envoy Gen. John Allen is in the Kurdish capital of Erbil after meeting with senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad to garner support from Kurdish peshmarga forces for the upcoming Mosul offensive.
Allen is in Iraq as President Obama’s special envoy to the global coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Meeting with Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani Monday, Allen praised Peshmarga successes over what he called “the myth of ISIL invincibility” as Kurdish forces recaptured vast areas from the Sunni extremists in a series of military operations last December.
“We admire the Kurdish people’s resolution and the bravery of the Peshmarga troops confronting the terrorists and sheltering thousands of refugees,” Allen said in the meeting.
24 Kurdish security officers were killed last week in repelling an ISIS counteroffensive on the town of Gwer, 60 km south of the Kurdish capital.
President Barzani said the deadly attacks in Paris show that “terrorism is a global threat” and called for a “common strategy” to combat it.
“Terror knows no boundary and we need to confront it both militarily but also politically and intellectually,” said Barzani who appreciated the US support of the Kurdish struggle against the jihadists.
Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi and Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, both Sunni leaders from Mosul, were in Erbil recently to gain support for the imminent Mosul offensive.
Barzani has said he will support the Iraqi forces in retaking the city if both Baghdad and people from Mosul present a plan on how to conduct the operation.
Peshmarga forces, supported by US airpower, recaptured in August the strategically important Mosul Dam, which powers much of northern Iraq.
“We will continue to support Kurdistan Region against terror organizations and urge other nations to do so,” Gen. Allen said.