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France deploys artillery, readies carrier ahead of Mosul offensive

France yesterday said that it was deploying artillery to Iraq and readying its aircraft carrier for deployment to reinforce foreign military support for the Iraqi army's expected push to recapture Mosul, the de facto capital of Daesh.

The Iraqi army and its elite units have gradually taken up positions around the city 400 kilometres north of Baghdad, with international coalition forces keen to capitalise on the militant group's loss of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

"We decided to bolster our support of the Iraqi forces this autumn with the aim of recapturing Mosul," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a gathering of defence and military officials in Paris.

"At this very moment, artillery is arriving close to the front line," Le Drian said, adding that the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier would soon leave for the Middle East.

French defence officials declined to give details on the nature of the artillery.

It was from Mosul's Grand Mosque in 2014 that Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdad declared a caliphate spanning regions of Iraq and Syria.

France, the first country to join US-led airstrikes in Iraq, has stepped up aerial operations against Daesh, including in Syria, after several attacks by the group in France. Paris also has Special Forces operating in both countries and has provided weapons to Syrian rebel groups.

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Europe & RussiaFranceMiddle EastNewsSyria
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