"God willing, we will take this town today", he said.
Visuals and reports filtering out from the battle zone already point to the large-scale use of suicide bombers in armoured trucks and cars taking on the coalition's tanks and advance forces. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties from the fighting.
Check out our full interview with Petraeus on Wednesday's episode of VICE News Tonight on HBO, where he'll explain what it will take to establish stability in the region and talk about how important the fight for Mosul is in the greater war on terror.
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters fire a multiple rocket launcher from a position in Sheikh Ali village near the town of Bashiqa, some 25 kilometres north east of Mosul, on Thursday during an operation against ISIS.
"The operation will be in three fronts", the peshmerga said in a statement after recent gains by the peshmerga to the east of Mosul and Iraqi security forces to the south.
Williams is with Kurdish forces along the main road into Mosul.
Thick smoke was seen rising from the town, which a day earlier was pounded by air strikes and mortar fire.
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Bartella was a Christian town, and CBS News visited it just weeks before it was captured by ISIS and spoke to the Christian militiamen who were trying to defend it.
The Iraqi government has denied any systematic violations by security forces or the militias, and says individuals have been held accountable for occasional abuses.
"You are not my interlocutor, you are not at my level, you are not my equivalent, you are not of the same quality as me", Erdogan said.
Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish forces in northern Syria late Wednesday, killing up to 200 fighters, according to state-run media.
The Iraqi government denies that it has granted the permission, saying the presence of the Turkish troops on the Arab country's soil is a breach of Iraq's sovereignty.
An intense gun battle erupted as the convoy of some 1,000 special forces made its way toward Bartella.
Echoing earlier statements from senior USA officials, Volesky said foreign fighters have remained in Mosul, part of the estimated 3,000-5,000 ISIS fighters in that city.
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Mosul was where IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his "caliphate" two years ago but is now the group's last major stronghold in Iraq.
US officials said advancing forces are also going after oil reserves in the area that is supplying terrorists with operating capital. Ankara has refused, and insists it will play a role in liberating the city.
When a coalition of Iraqi armed forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militia groups supported by US -led air strikes and other special forces marched on Mosul on Monday, the long-planned offensive to defeat the IS decisively was finally put into action.
As they advanced, attack helicopters fired on the militants and heavy gunfire echoed across the plains.
The city's loss is widely predicted to deal a death blow to the group's ambitions as a land-holding force in Iraq. But he said the United Nations anticipates "a displacement wave of some 200,000 people over the coming weeks, with up to one million displaced in the course of the operation in a worst-case scenario". They would hit us daily, asking us about our beards and clothes. He said he expects this trend to continue.
Mosul is a Sunni majority town, and many fear the involvement of the Shiite militias in the operation could stoke sectarian tensions.
There are about 5,000 USA forces in Iraq, including between 100 and 200 advisers embedded with the advancing Iraqi troops.
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David Maxwell, a former U.S. Army Special Forces colonel now at Georgetown University, said military advisers must grapple with the tension between nurturing local forces - who are often beset by deep, systemic problems - and accomplishing the overall mission.