U.S.-led coalition forces have liberated Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, from Islamic State fighters. After declaring the city free of terrorist fighters on July 10, troops began working to clear the city of unexploded ordnance and any straggler fighters who may remain.
Even with Mosul’s liberation, coalition leaders anticipate a continued campaign before the Islamic State is finally defeated throughout Iraq and Syria.
“Make no mistake. This victory alone does not eliminate ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and there is still a tough fight ahead. But the loss of one of its twin capitals and a jewel of their so-called caliphate is a decisive blow,” said Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
During its occupation of Mosul, the Islamic State reportedly killed thousands of its citizens and ravaged ancient historic artifacts and shrines.
In its official announcement relating to Mosul’s liberation, the Pentagon stated that the al-Nuri Mosque and the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah were destroyed, along with hospitals and schools.
“People of all ethnicities and sects have suffered and sacrificed together, not only for their own country, but to help provide security to the region and the world,” Townsend said.
He also credited Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga troops for taking an active role in the fight for Mosul.
“Mosul would have been a challenging fight for any army,” Townsend said. “The coalition is proud to stand side-by-side with our Iraqi partners as they celebrate their hard-fought victory – a victory that has cost the lives of many brave Iraqis — soldiers, police and civilians.”
“We mourn the thousands of Iraqis brutally killed by ISIS,” President Trump said White House statement. “The victory in Mosul — signals that its days in Iraq and Syria are numbered. We will continue to seek the total destruction of ISIS.”