Sunday, 9 July 2017

Victory over ISIL Proclaimed in Iraq's Mosul

Iraq’s prime minister entered the city of Mosul on Sunday to declare victory in the nine-month battle for control of the Islamic State’s former stronghold, signaling the near end of the most grueling campaign against the group to date and dealing a near-fatal blow to the survival of its self-declared caliphate. On a walk through the city’s eastern districts, Haider al-Abadi was thronged by men holding cameraphones as music blared and others danced in the streets. [...] But in a sign of how tenaciously the Islamic State has fought, even as Abadi was touring the town, the sound of airstrikes echoed through the skies and smoke rose from the last pocket of territory the militants control, thought to be no more than 200 yards long and 50 yards wide. [...] The confusion of that moment came as a reminder that even though a complete victory now seems assured, it has come at a tremendous price. On a walk through Mosul’s oldest quarters on Sunday, the stench of bodies filled the air. [...]  the fight lasted for nine months, longer than the siege of Stalingrad and longer than the final Allied push into Germany in World War II. It has cost thousands of lives, uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and shattered vast stretches of the city.

Louisa Loveluck, Liz Sly and Mustafa Salim, 'Iraqi forces declare victory over Islamic State in Mosul, but fighting continues', Washington Post July 9 2017.

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