Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul on Sunday to personally congratulate Iraqi forces and citizens for victory over Daesh militants, who had brutally controlled the city for three years.
Iraqis have come together to celebrate this monumental victory, people are dancing on the streets, and soldiers are embracing one another.
The long-awaited victory ends a nine-month gruelling campaign, which has displaced more than 900,000 citizens. It also symbolises the near-end of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate, which was declared from Mosul’s al-Nuri Mosque by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Just two weeks ago, Iraqi forces took over the remains of the Nuri mosque where Baghdadi made his famous sermon in 2014. Whilst recapturing the mosque was a symbolic victory, there were still Daesh elements in the area fighting on. The security forces in Mosul still face dangers, including ISIS sleeper cells and suicide bombers.
Expelling Daesh from Mosul will certainly offer Iraqis a breath of fresh air. But victory has come at a terrible cost, as thousands of civilians have been murdered as a result of Daesh’s brutal rule.
The declaration of victory in Mosul does not end the war. The attention now focuses on other areas of Iraq, including Tal Afar, Hawija and parts of Anbar, as well as the Battle for Raqqa in Syria, and ending the so-called Islamic state once and for all.