After a little over three months since Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, launched operations to liberate Mosul from ISIS, Iraqi Security Forces have managed to retake control over the eastern part of the city from the group.
Only a few neighbourhoods remain in the city’s north, such as al-Rashideen, but with ISIS militants having fled these areas to the western part of the city, resistance has all but evaporated. This comes after the Iraqi army’s 15th and 16th divisions liberated the Presidential Palaces, Mosul Park, and the neighbourhood of al-Fadhliyah today.
“We have achieved victory on important lines and in important places and the issue for the Counter Terrorism Forces has ended,” said the Head of Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Forces, Lt. Gen. Taleb Shaghati. “Cooperation and coordination with the other security forces in the North and the South has also ended.”
The near complete collapse of ISIS forces in the city’s east coincided with Phase 2 of the Joint Task Force’s assault on Mosul. After several weeks of slow gains, the Iraqi Security Forces – comprising primarily of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces from the East, Federal Police from the Southeast, and Iraqi Army from the North – consolidated their gains and attempted to secure liberated areas. More importantly, however, was the instigation of strategic adjustments and a reassessment of the battle that has allowed them to push ISIS back towards the western side of the city.
Among the most iconic areas liberated by the Iraqi Security Forces recently was the Grand Mosque, where ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, made an appearance on the 29th June 2014 to announce the establishment of the so-called Islamic State. Since this time, however, al-Baghdadi has made few appearances, although he was rumoured to be in Mosul in October last year, just as liberation operations had begun.
Now that operations in the East have almost finished, attention is swiftly turning towards the western side of the city. Five pontoon bridges have been sent to Mosul from al-Qayyarah, c. 65km south of the city, to allow Iraqi forces to cross the Tigris after the bridges were destroyed by airstrikes.