On October 17 at 2am local time, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi went on television to announce the battle for Mosul had begun.

More than 100,000 troops were ready to push Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group out of the area.

The Iraqi army, Shia militias, Sunni tribal fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga - all united against a common enemy.

In the first two weeks, they made significant advances. Outlying towns and villages were captured. But by November, progress slowed.

ISIL had planted explosives and booby traps. Troops were targeted by snipers and suicide bombers.

Now, more than two months on, Iraqi forces are hardly making gains.

Is the strategy to defeat ISIL working and for how long can the battle continue?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Mouayad Al Windawi - director of foreign relations at the Iraqi Centre for Strategic Studies

Ali Al-Dabbagh - former spokesman for the Iraqi government

Saad Jawad - professor of political science at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics

Source: Al Jazeera News