Head to toe in military fatigues, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul with a grin that spanned ear to ear on his face, as Iraqi armed forces had finally defeated ISIS and reclaimed Mosul.
After nearly two decades of warfare and specifically a nine month long campaign to restore Mosul to the nation of Iraq freeing it from the hands of the Islamic State, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared victory over ISIS in Iraq.
Mosul being Iraq’s second largest city, has been an uphill battle against the Islamic State militants who held the city as a stronghold. The once beautiful ancient Persian city however is now in ruins, scarred with soot and ash from years of shelling of heavy weaponry and tainted with the blood of the hundreds of thousands who were killed during the warfare.
The Prime Minister expects small pockets of resistance to still potentially attack in the next few weeks, and suggests there may be acts of desperation from the few hiding ISIS which remain using suicide bombs to end their misery.
The brutal and savage war for Mosul however has been won, and the Iraqi military will forever hold the area now with battalions prepared to defend it from any entities in the future.
However now that the war has been won the cleanup efforts can be even more dangerous for the already tired troops. They must go door to door, building to building, and even sift through the rubble of the wasteland of destruction looking for booby traps and leftover improvised explosive devices left behind from the seemingly endless chaos.
“It’s going to continue to be hard every day,” said Col. Pat Work, the Commanding Officer of the Second Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, which is leads American operations in the Mosul region.
“Iraqi security forces need to be on the top of their game, and we need to be over their shoulder helping them as they move through this transition to consolidate gains and really sink their hold in on the west side,” Colonel Work said whilst traveling through the streets of west Mosul in an armored vehicle. “ISIS will challenge this.”
In a sign of victory, Iraqis had intended to hang a massive flag of Iraq from the historic Grand al-Nuri Mosque and its world renown leaning minaret, which stands as a symbol to Muslims globally; however before the defeat of ISIS this holy site was wiped off the face of the earth by the Islamic State as they knew the end was nigh.
Many suggest the horrifying act against liberty loving Iraqis only further inspired the Iraqi Military to finally reach the climax of their plight against terror and defeat ISIS once and for all.