Kurdish police guard a building in the Kurdistan Region.
By Nasir Ali
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – US and Canadian experts have finished training 4,000 policemen and are gearing to instruct as many more at a military base in Kurdistan, in readiness for an anticipated assault on Mosul.
“Four thousand policemen have finished their training and 4,000 more are enlisted and will begin training as soon as possible,” said Lt. Col. Muhammad Wakaa, a commander at the base near the Bardarash district north of Mosul.
“We have so far formed eight regiments and the commander of one of those regiments is a Kurd,” Wakaa said.
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, was captured in June by insurgents fighting under the Islamic State (ISIS) banner. A major offensive on the city by joint coalition forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi military is expected in the next several months.
The recruits at the base come from all Iraqi backgrounds, but are dominated by Arabs.
“In addition to basic training, everyday 10 American and Canadian military experts give the policemen training on how to engage in irregular warfare,” Wakaa said.
The battle for Mosul is expected to involve airstrikes by coalition forces and fighting street-to-street on the ground by a mix of Peshmerga, Iraqi troops and some boots from the US-led allied forces, probably as advisors.
Many of the recruits are former policemen from Mosul, and anxious to liberate the city as soon as possible from the clutches of the Sunni jihadi group, known as ISIS or ISIS.
“My family is still in Mosul. They are being hurt by ISIL on a daily basis, and I would like the assault to begin as soon as possible,” said a policeman who did not wish to be identified by name.
With so many thousands living and training together, the usual ethnic and religious tensions that plague the rest of Iraq are also present at the base.
Kurdish recruits complain that most of the other volunteers are Arabs, and Yezidi Kurds say they resent Arabs being trained alongside Kurds on Kurdish territory.