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Fall of ISIS-Held Mosul Would Mean Fall of the Caliphate: US Commander

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    Fall of ISIS-Held Mosul Would Mean Fall of the Caliphate: US Commander
    AP
    Smoke rises from Islamic state positions after an airstrike by coalition forces in Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2016. The pace of operations slowed on Tuesday as Iraqi forces began pushing toward larger villages and encountering civilian populations on the second day of a massive operation to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

    The fall of the ISIS-held city of Mosul in Iraq would mean the fall of ISIS’s caliphate as well. That's according to the commander leading the U.S.-backed Iraqi ground forces pushing toward the city to oust the extremist terror group.

    “ISIS has said this is the crown jewel of Iraq and its idea of a caliphate,” Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky told NBC News Tuesday. “There’s not going to be a caliphate, if there ever really was one. So for ISIL, this is going to be a key loss for them, and it will be a loss.”

    Volesky expressed confidence in the military offensive, praising Iraqi troops for driving quickly toward Mosul.

    “Iraqis have the momentum,” he said.

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    ISIS took control of Mosul two and a half years ago.