It has been an effective summer for Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Now they are fighting to retake Iraq's second biggest city, Mosul, which has been under ISIL control for more than two years.

The Iraqi army, Kurdish forces, Shia militias and the US air force are all converging on the city from different directions.

Iraqi soldiers re-took Qayara on Saturday. It is an oil-producing town about 70km south of Mosul and near a major airbase.

The Iraqi army had been fighting for control of Qayara for several weeks.

Now, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Mosul will be captured by the end of the year.

So, how ready are the government forces? And what does the offensive mean for a united Iraq, and ISIL?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Ghassan Al-Attiyah - Head of the Iraqi National Initiative, a secular movement that aims to bridge sectarian divides in Iraq.

Wladimir van Wilgenburg - journalist and political analyst focusing on Kurdish politics.

Zaid Al-Ali - Author of the book The Struggle for Iraq's Future and former adviser to the United Nations.

Source: Al Jazeera