Toronto - After nine months of what has been called the most intense fighting since World War II, Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi has declared “total victory” over ISIS in Mosul.
Toronto – After nine months of what has been called the most intense fighting since World War II, Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi has declared “total victory” over ISIS in Mosul.
Standing among the Iraqi troops Monday evening, Al-Abadi said: “I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist Daesh announced from Mosul.”
The Iraqi coalition force included Iraqi government troops, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shia armed forces. They launched their offensive in October of 2016 receiving critical air and ground support from a US-led international coalition.
In a statement issued by Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the US-led coalition, he congratulated the Iraqi troops on their hard-won victory but warned of a difficult fight ahead. “Make no mistake, this victory alone does not eliminate [IS] and there is still a tough fight ahead. But the loss of one of its twin capitals and a jewel of their so-called caliphate is a decisive blow.”
Still, he congratulated the Iraqi forces on what he called an “historic victory against a brutal and evil enemy.” He and other US-led coalition commanders were careful to point out there are still a few IS hold-outs hiding in the city and explosive devices to yet be dismantled before calling the city 100 percent safe.
Iraqi PM, Al-Abadi, agreed and spoke of the larger mission of rebuilding the nearly destroyed city: “We have another mission ahead of us, to create stability, to build and clear Daesh cells and that requires an intelligence and security effort, and the unity which enabled us to fight Daesh,” he said before raising an Iraqi flag once more above the city of Mosul.
All across Iraq, people gathered in the streets, as they did in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, dancing, cheering and waving the Iraq national flag in celebration.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres declared through his spokesman on Monday that the retaking of Mosul was “a significant step in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.”