PARIS, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The international coalition and local forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) insurgents could take back Mosul, the group's stronghold in Iraq before summer after making major advances in the city area, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday.

"In Iraq, the coalition operation allowed to reconquest of a large part of the lost territory thanks to the help of Iraqi forces and Peshmergas," Hollande told a gathering of diplomats in Paris.

"Daesh (IS) is retreating and the objective is to oust it from Mosul ... I think it's possible ... to liberate the city before summer," he added.

France was one of the first European countries to join the U.S.-led coalition against IS. Its fighter jets have bombed the group in Iraq since 2014.