The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has begun fortifying its positions in and around the city of Mosul as Iraqi and Kurdish troops gear up for a major offensive to recapture the city, a senior Kurdish official in Nineveh governorate said on Monday.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official Saeed Mamozeini said that ISIS is fortifying its positions across Nineveh governorate, preparing to defend territory under its control from an expected military offensive to recapture the city of Mosul, the second largest in Iraq, which the group occupied in June.

“ISIS has begun to dig a trench around the city. This trench is an expansion of an older trench and is part of a series of preparations being carried out by ISIS to confront any attack by Peshmerga or Iraqi forces,” Mamozeini said. […]