The Iraqi army is planning the liberation of the northern Nineveh province from the Islamic State militants, Iraq’s Defense Minister Khaled Obaidi said in a statement Wednesday.
ISIL took control over Nineveh and its capital Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, in June 2014.
“The work continues night and day, to develop plans to prepare military units for the liberation of the [Nineveh] province and, if possible, to avoid civilian casualties and to maintain infrastructure,” Obaidi said.
The minister said assistance from the local population would be necessary to successfully liberate the province.
The Iraqi army is currently in the second phase of a military operation to liberate the central province of Salah al-Din. On Wednesday, the military reportedly retook the country’s largest oil refinery in the central city of Baiji.