Iraqi Forces Liberate Mosul From ISIS
SOUTHWEST ASIA --
The coalition welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s announcement of Iraq’s victory in Mosul and congratulated the Iraqi forces on their remarkable progress against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives, Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve commander, said in a video statement today.
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, Inherent Resolve officials said, Iraqi forces have Mosul now firmly under their control.
“The global coalition fighting ISIS congratulates Prime Minister al-Abadi and the Iraqi Security Forces on their historic victory against a brutal and evil enemy. Make no mistake; this victory alone does not eliminate ISIS 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,” Townsend said.
Iraqi militia forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and the global coalition also deserve a share of the credit for their sacrifices to achieve this hard-won victory, he said.
“Mosul would have been a challenging fight for any army, and the coalition is proud to stand side-by-side with our Iraqi partners as they celebrate their hard-fought victory -- a victory that has cost the lives of many brave Iraqis; soldiers, police and civilians,” Townsend said in a news release. "People of all ethnicities and sects have suffered and sacrificed together, not only for their own country, but to help provide security to the region and the world."
“However, this victory does not mark the end of this evil ideology and the global threat of ISIS. Now it is time for all Iraqis to unite to ensure ISIS is defeated across the rest of Iraq and that the conditions that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq are not allowed to return again,” he said.
During its occupation of Mosul, ISIS destroyed many of the city’s religious and cultural treasures, including the al-Nuri Mosque and the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah. It terrorized and brutally murdered thousands of civilians, including scores of women and children, OIR officials said. ISIS used mosques, schools and hospitals as bomb-building facilities and fighting positions; but in the end, ISIS was still defeated, the officials added.
Although ISIS has lost Mosul, the threat remains in other areas of Iraq. The officials said the coalition will stand side-by-side with the Iraqi government and its people until ISIS is defeated and all Iraqis are liberated and security is restored.