KHAZER- A few hundred Iraqi special forces arrived Friday at the front line near militant-held Mosul, one small part of a series of troop movements that have massed thousands of soldiers ahead of an operation seeking to retake the country's second-largest city from the Islamic State group.
"Yesterday, our commander told us: This is it, the liberation of Mosul is beginning," a special forces sergeant said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Officials from Iraq and the US-led coalition have said preparations and planning of the operation are ongoing, but there is widespread speculation it will be launched this month.
The Iraqi troops interviewed by The Associated Press were camped in a field across the Great Zab River separating Nineveh province from Iraq's Kurdistan region. Nearby, other members of their unit were moving into an abandoned village, converting homes into a barracks for temporary camp.