US-led Coalition welcomes liberation of Mosul, says tough fight ahead

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Civilians in Mosul city, northwestern Iraq. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The US-led Coalition has welcomed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s announcement of Iraq’s victory over ISIS in Mosul. “We congratulate the Iraqi Security Forces on their remarkable progress against ISIS while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives,” the coalition said on Monday.

“We thank all countries who supported our forces and contributed to the campaign against Daesh,” Abadi said from Mosul, using another acronym for ISIS. “From the Old City we announce the liberation of Mosul and remember the heroic sacrifices of our armed forces and their families.”

The coalition said while there are still areas of the Old City of Mosul that must be back-cleared of explosive devices and possible ISIS fighters in hiding, the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) have Mosul now firmly under their control.

“The global Coalition fighting ISIS congratulates Prime Minister al-Abadi and the Iraqi Security Forces on their historic victory against a brutal and evil enemy. Make no mistake; this victory alone does not eliminate ISIS 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 Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

Iraqi Militia Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the global Coalition also deserve a share of the credit for their sacrifices to achieve this hard-won victory.

“Mosul would have been a challenging fight for any army, and 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. 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,” said Townsend.

“However, this victory does not mark the end of this evil ideology and the global threat of ISIS. Now it is time for all Iraqis to unite to ensure ISIS is defeated across the rest of Iraq and that the conditions that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq are not allowed to return again,” said Townsend.

During its occupation of Mosul, ISIS destroyed many of the city’s religious and cultural treasures, including the al-Nuri Mosque and the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah. It terrorized and brutally murdered thousands of civilians, including women and children. ISIS used mosques, schools and hospitals as bomb-building facilities and fighting positions; but in the end, ISIS was still defeated.

Although ISIS has lost Mosul, the threat remains in other areas of Iraq. The Coalition said it will stand side-by-side with the Iraqi government and its people until ISIS is defeated and all Iraqis are liberated and security is restored.

Hemin Hawrami, a senior advisor to the Kurdish president Masoud Barzani, welcomed the liberation and said the Kurdish president called the Iraqi PM to congratulate him.

“Warm congratulations for the liberation of Mosul from ISIS terrorists. Peshmerge gave the key of liberation to Iraqi army who fought heroically,” Hawrami said.

Masrour Barzani, the Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, said Iraq now needs a strategy to win the peace.

“I congratulate ISF, Peshmerga and the coalition for the military victory in Mosul. The country also needs a strategy to win the peace,” he said.

The Kurds are worried about the future of Iraq now that ISIS is largely defeated in Mosul.

“Who is going to reconstruct this area, who is going to solve flash point of the situation,” Hemin Hawrami said in an exclusive interview with ARA News on Friday.

“Who is going to prevent Daash No. 2 to come back to that areas? Because Daash was the symptom of the failed governance in Iraq,” Hawrami added.

“Unfortunately the environment that has created ISIS, those environment has not been addressed. ISIS has been psychically defeated, but virtually they have not been defeated, their ideology have not been bombed, because through bombs their ideology cannot be defeated,” he added.

“That’s why we are concerned in the post-ISIS Iraq with the divisions within the Sunnis, within the Shiites, and between Sunnis and Shiites, and also creation of a parallel force to the Iraqi army units. These are all forces that make reverse more possible, then progress in post-ISIS Mosul,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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