Iraqi forces have claimed victory over ISIS after their elite special troops destroyed a key compound belonging to the Islamic State on Thursday afternoon.
The attempts to defeat ISIS over the last few months were repeatedly interfered with by the U.S. military, who allegedly supplied ISIS with weapons and missiles.
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According to Lt Gen Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, despite the blatant attempts by the U.S. to keep ISIS strong in the region, the destruction of the compound brings to an end an eight-month-long battle with the terrorist group.
Independent.co.uk reports: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has already “issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion”, his office said on Wednesday.
The victory has come at a cost: the fierce fighting and US-led bombing campaign have killed thousands of civilians and driven 850,000 in total from their homes. Huge swathes of the city have been reduced to rubble, and in the searing summer heat the stench of dead bodies is overpowering, soldiers on the front line say.
Operation Inherent Resolve to retake the city began in October 2016. While the struggle for Mosul – once a cosmopolitan city of 1.5 million people and the jewel in Isis’s crown – has almost reached its end, the militants still cling on to pockets of northern Iraq near the border with Syria.
The complex coalition operation made up of the Iraqi army, elite counter terrorism units, Iranian-funded militias and Kurdish peshmerga has dovetailed with US-backed Kurdish forces’ efforts across the border to drive Isis from its de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa.
The fall of both cities will mark the end of Isis as a land-holding force, although analysts expect the group to morph into a full-blown insurgency across the two countries, and for Isis to step up terror attacks around the world in future.
“It’s important to differentiate between Isis as a global ideology and its physical quasi-state project,” Dr Andreas Krieg of King’s College London’s Department of Defence Studies told The Independent.
“Isis is not the root cause of Iraq’s problems, it’s a symptom of it. And all the local grievances that allowed Isis to flourish in the first place – physical insecurity, disenfranchisement – are not going to go away. There are many in northern Iraq who are not going to cheer and support the Baghdad government now they’ve been liberated from one form of oppression. They are already bracing for the next one.”