A little more than three years ago in 2014, the terrorist group ISIS took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul. After a hard-fought campaign, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced on July 10th, that the Iraqi Security Forces had regained control of the city. The victory comes after a nine-month long push to clear the last ISIS forces out of Mosul.
It was not an easy victory, and it exacted a high price, particularly from the civilian population. ISIS has been using civilians as human shields, and killed those who tried to leave the city. As the tide increasingly turned against them, their mistreatment of the civilian population escalated. “During ISIS’s brutal occupation of Mosul, it terrorized and brutally murdered thousands of civilians, used mosques, schools and hospitals as bomb-building facilities and fighting positions, and just recently, facing defeat, destroyed the historic al-Nuri mosque and al-Hadba minaret,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a written statement.
“We honor the sacrifices of the Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi people, as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga, in achieving this victory, and express condolences for the many lives lost in the operation.
“This is a critical milestone in the global fight against ISIS, and underscores the success of the international effort led by the Iraqi Security Forces,” said Secretary of State Tillerson.
“On behalf of President Trump and the American people, I congratulate Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi people on their liberation of Mosul.”
And now begins the second part of freeing Mosul from the stain of ISIS: the rebuilding of the city, much of which has been reduced to rubble. Many of its residents have fled Mosul, and ISIS is still far from eradicated.
“Under Iraqi leadership, the United States and our Coalition partners will continue to work closely with the UN to stabilize liberated areas throughout Mosul, supporting the return of displaced civilians to their homes,” said Secretary of State Tillerson.
“There is still much work to be done to defeat this enemy. The Global Coalition will continue to stand with our Iraqi partners to ensure that ISIS is defeated wherever it remains in Iraq.”