Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Iraq declares Mosul's total liberation from Islamic State

The image shows fake images that have been emblazoned by Saudi hackers on the page of Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam news network The image shows fake images that have been emblazoned by Saudi hackers on the page of Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam news network
Christy Curtis | 12 July, 2017, 01:52

The US-led coalition that backed the Mosul offensive and is supporting another assault on IS's Syrian bastion Raqa hailed the victory, but warned it did not mark the end of the war against the jihadists.

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State - called Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve - congratulated Iraqi security forces "on their remarkable progress against ISIS while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives".

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday formally declared Mosul liberated from the IS after nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.

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 Islamic State has been steadily beaten back over the past year and is showing signs of crumbling.

Earlier in the day, airstrikes pounded the last IS-held territory on the western edge of the Tigris, Humvees rushed wounded to field hospitals and soldiers hurriedly filled bags with hand grenades to ferry to the front.

Over 600,000 people have been displaced from west Mosul and the area itself has suffered tremendous destruction as we saw when we were on the ground in May 2017.

And few citizens remain in the area.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) today said it could be many months before civilians are able to return to their homes. Amnesty's report makes the point that Iraqi and coalition forces failed to adapt their tactics even after ISIS had driven ivilians into areas affected by fighting, making west Mosul more and more crowded with civilians as the battle raged on.

Iraqi commanders said gains slowed to a crawl in recent days as IS fighters used their families - including women and children - as human shields.

"They do not accept to surrender", Aridhi said.

The battle for Mosul - by far the largest city to fall under the militants' control - has left large areas in ruins, killed thousands of civilians and displaced almost 1 million people.

"Abu Haidar", a man from the village of Tel Arbeed who was forced to move into west Mosul, told Amnesty: "[ISIS] said you must leave, or you will be killed.

He said security forces were closing in but were slowed by IS snipers.

The Department of Defense has requested $1.269 billion in USA budget funds for 2018 to continue supporting Iraqi forces, which collapsed in the face of the few hundred militants who overran Mosul in 2014.

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