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- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul Sunday, 9 July to congratulate commanders and to declare “victory” over ISIS fighters in the city.
We joined the people of Mosul in their celebration of the city’s liberation, brought about through the sacrifices of our brave forces pic.twitter.com/wnxMXZhWGZ
— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) July 10, 2017
- The prime minister’s media office tweeted the announcement of victory:
— PM Media Office (@IraqiPMO) July 10, 2017
- In a press release Monday, the US Central Command congratulated the Iraqi Security Forces “on their remarkable progress against ISIS while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives.”
“While there are still areas of the Old City of Mosul that must be back-cleared of explosive devices and possible ISIS fighters in hiding, the ISF have Mosul now firmly under their control.”
- In the release, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend congratulated al-Abadi on their “historic victory against a brutal and evil enemy,” adding that “this victory alone does not eliminate ISIS and there is still a tough fight ahead.”
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) July 10, 2017
- Iraqi forces have been battling to retake control of Mosul — the largest city in Iraq and Syria under ISIS control — since October of last year.
- The fighting has left thousands dead and displaced nearly a million people, according to the New York Times.
- According to the BBC, in July 2014, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance as the group’s leader in a Mosul mosque declaring it the stronghold of the “caliphate.”
- In a June 2014 article, The Atlantic explained that a caliphate “is an Islamic state. It’s led by a caliph, who is a political and religious leader who is a successor (caliph) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. His power and authority is absolute.”
- The terrorist group still controls other territories in the country, “around Hawija, 130km (80 miles) south-east of Mosul; around Tal Afar, 65km west; and from Ana to Al-Qaim in the Euphrates river valley, 250km to the south-west,” according to the BBC.
The Battle for Mosul
- ISIS first captured Mosul three years ago, after six days of fighting Iraqi forces.
- Iraqi special forces have experienced 40% battle losses over the course of the battle for Mosul, according to the US Department of Defense.
- Stephen Kalin, a reporter for Reuters, told PBS NewsHour that many smaller cities in Iraq are still under ISIS control, adding:
“We’re expecting that the military campaign will continue with the help of the US-led coalition. The battle is not over against ISIS by any stretch in Iraq. And in addition to those cities, we expect that there will be an insurgency, that there will be asymmetrical terrorist type attacks in Mosul and other parts of Iraq. So, it — really stabilizing Iraq will continue to be an important mission for the security forces.”
- Hassan Hassan, a resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute, told the Washington Post:
“The loss of Mosul means ISIS is no longer the same, for better or worse. It’s no longer the quasi-state that it projected itself to be. But everything achieved against the group is fragile. The ideology is still there, the appeal is still there, and so are the divisions that helped them take power.”
- After three years under ISIS control and nine months of fighting, the process of rebuilding Mosul’s infrastructure and recovering from human loss due to displacement and casualties suffered during the offensive is just beginning.
- Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said:
“It’s a relief to know that the military campaign in Mosul is ending. The fighting may be over, but the humanitarian crisis is not…
Many of the people who have fled have lost everything. They need shelter, food, health care, water, sanitation and emergency kits. The levels of trauma we are seeing are some of the highest anywhere. What people have experienced is nearly unimaginable.”
- On Monday, 10 July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres pledged support for the Iraqi government and called for $985 million to “aid humanitarian projects.” The UN has raised 43% of its goal.
- According to a UN damage assessment, 490 buildings in the city have been destroyed and more than 5,000 have been damaged.
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) July 9, 2017
1/2- As Iraq PM declares victory in ‘liberated’ Mosul, exhausted and mourning, families emerge from the ruins.Ahmad Al-Rubaye & Fadel Senna pic.twitter.com/alXLtSoPXs
— AFP Photo (@AFPphoto) July 9, 2017
- Grande estimated the cost of rebuilding Mosul’s basic infrastructure at around $1 billion, Reuters reported.
- In October, Navy Captain Jeff Davis reported that civilians were being used by ISIS as human shields in the city.
- According to Airwars, an estimated 900 to 1,200 civilians have been killed by air and artillery strikes since the fighting began.
- Since October 2016, 920,000 civilians fled Mosul with nearly 700,000 still displaced, according to the United Nations.
- President Donald Trump said Monday in a statement:
“Today, Iraqi Security Forces, supported by the United States and the Global Coalition, liberated the city of Mosul from its long nightmare under the rule of ISIS. We congratulate Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Security Forces, and all Iraqis for their victory over terrorists who are the enemies of all civilized people…
We have made tremendous progress against ISIS – more in the past 6 months than in the years since ISIS became a major threat. The victory in Mosul, a city where ISIS once proclaimed its so-called “caliphate,” signals that its days in Iraq and Syria are numbered. We will continue to seek the total destruction of ISIS.”
- UN Secretary-General António Guterres said:
“The recovery of Mosul is a significant step in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism,” said a spokesman for .
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement:
“This is a critical milestone in the global fight against ISIS, and underscores the success of the international effort led by the Iraqi Security Forces.”
- Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve tweeted:
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) July 10, 2017
- British politician Boris Johnson tweeted:
Congratulations to Iraqi forces on progress in #Mosul. UK will go on supporting Iraq when the hard work begins to rebuild people’s lives
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 10, 2017
- Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted:
Congratulations to brave people & Government of Iraq upon liberation of Mosul. When Iraqis join hands, no limits to what they can achieve.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) July 9, 2017
Emily Priddy contributed to this report.