Agence France-Presse quotes General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, from an Atlantic Council event:

“The point about Mosul, or the point about any aspect of the counter-offensive, is less about the timing than about the preparation,” Allen told an audience at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank.

“That preparation isn’t just about the clearing force,” he said, adding: “These populations have endured enormous abuse and deprivation.”

Allen noted that “as we sit here right now, the fighting is raging for possession of Tikrit,” where thousands of Iraqi forces and Shiite militia have launched an operation to take back the town north of Baghdad.

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