ISIS launched a major counter-attack in Kirkuk Province in response to advances by Iraqi and Kurdish security forces towards Mosul on October 20 and 21.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with counterparts from Russia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt in Lausanne, Switzerland on October 15 to open a new multilateral initiative to end the Syrian Civil War. Meanwhile, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu announced a temporary halt to pro-regime airstrikes in Eastern Aleppo City on October 18 in preparation for a series of three consecutive eleven-hour ‘humanitarian pauses’ scheduled for October 20 - 22.
The Coalition-led operation to secure Mosul from ISIS advanced towards the city from two directions in the first 72 hours as of October 19, 2016. U.S. Forces are participating in the operation as advisers and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs).
ISIS will continue to demonstrate its legitimacy and vitality, despite major losses to its core landholdings. ISIS lost control of the Turkish border on September 4 and the town of Dabiq in Northern Syria on October 16.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the launch of operations to retake Ninewa Province and Mosul from ISIS at dawn on October 17.
Former PM Nouri al-Maliki continues to shape the political landscape in Iraq. Turkish President Recep Erdogan and PM Abadi traded bombastic rhetoric over Turkish force presence northeast of Mosul.
The U.S. suspended all bilateral engagement with Russia on Syria on October 3 in response to the an ongoing regime offensive on Aleppo City. The breakdown comes amidst reports that White House is considering stronger action against the regime, including potential limited military strikes against regime targets. These developments set the stage for further conflict with Russia in Syria.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and tribal fighters recaptured Sharqat on September 22.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have finalized conditions to begin the push north towards Mosul and its environs.