Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi arrived in Mosul on Sunday, a “liberated” city, where he declared victory over the jihadist Islamic State (ISIS) group, after nearly nine months of bloody battle, according to his government.
The reconquest of Mosul is Iraq’s most notable victory since the ISIS captured the town in a lightning offensive on June 10, 2014, before taking control of large parts of the country’s Sunni heartland and declaring its “Caliphate” between Iraq and neighboring Syria. But the jihadist group, which faced offensives backed by a US-led coalition in both countries, has lost much of its region since then.
Iraqi forces started their campaign to recapture the country’s second city in October, and since then the ISIS has left from controlling the entire city to being trapped between security forces and the western shore of the Tigris River. The Iraqi offensive reduced much of the city to rubble and forced thousands to flee, supported by the coalition’s aerial bombing campaign.
In recent days, security forces eliminated jihadists trying to escape their shrinking positions in Mosul as Iraqi forces fought to recapture the last two areas in the hands of the Islamic State near the Tigris. Earlier Sunday, joint command of operations in Iraq had announced that thirty terrorists had been shot down as they attempted to escape through the river.
Until the last days of the battle, thousands of civilians were trapped inside the Old City, about 915,000 residents fled from Mosul since the fight for the city began; the United Nations said this week.
The last cornered jihadists have opposed vicious strike in recent days, but their efforts to prevent Iraqi troops from achieving what is considered the biggest defeat of the ISIS so far have come to an end. However, the end of the war against the ISIS, which still controls some areas in Iraq and territories in eastern and central Syria, where Raqa its stronghold of ISIS is Siege by forces also backed by Washington.