Kurdish security forces take up a position as they fight Daesh-controlled in villages surrounding Mosul.
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More is riding on the battle for Mosul than the recapture of Daesh's (ISIS) main stronghold in northern Iraq. Also on the line is the Obama administration's theory that the militants can be defeated in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere without American ground troops doing the fighting. In May 2015, after months of U.S. bombings in Iraq and while in the midst of Americans training and advising Iraqi ground troops, the Iraqis lost the city of Ramadi.Since then, the U.S. support role has grown and the Iraqi security forces have managed to retake key parts of western and northern Iraq, including Ramadi.American advisers are working with Iraqi troops, but the outcome will be determined largely by the Iraqis.Obama began sending small numbers of U.S. military advisers to Iraq in the summer of 2014, after Daesh had swept into Mosul and also captured much of western Iraq, including cities like Ramadi and Fallujah where American ground troops had spilled much blood before all U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011 .In the Obama view, Iraq is more likely to regain, and retain, control of its territory if it is not relying on U.S. troops to do the fighting.
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