Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, is back under government control after being lost to IS for the past three years. Iraqi forces declared “total victory”, but US advisers warned that there may be up to 200 remaining IS fighters in the city. Security is still tight, and nobody believes there still isn’t a threat, however the Iraqi flag is once again flying over the city. The city of Mosul is approximately the same size as Philadelphia.
American forces did not actively fight in the battle to take Mosul, but acted as advisers to the Iraqi army. The battle to retake Mosul began in October of 2016 under President Obama, and was completed under President Trump. The defeat of IS is continuing under President Trump, as they continue to lose ground and members.
The Islamist State (IS, and also known as ISIL and/or ISIS) was formed in 2013 as a branch of al-Qaida by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. in 2014 he led his followers to take the city of Fallujah, along with smaller cities in Western and Northern Iraq and parts of Syria. Iraqi forces put up little to no resistance as IS easily took control of vast regions of the country. To fund their expansion, IS took control of oil wells and production facilities in the area. As they expanded their territory, they also acquired vast amounts military equipment abandoned and captured from Iraqi forces. Much of the military equipment was provided to Iraq by American taxpayers.
In June of 2014, IS captured the crown jewel of Mosul, which was by far the largest city they had captured to date. Being radical Sunnis, they also declared their assault on top Shiite holy sites, which caused the top Shiite Cleric to call for Shiites to take up arms against the Sunni IS.
At the end of June 2014, IS declared the establishment of a ‘caliphate’ in its territories in Iraq and Syria. Al-Baghdadi is was declared the caliph. Al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance July 4th, when he delivered a Friday sermon in Mosul’s historic al-Nuri Mosque. He urged Muslims around the world to swear allegiance to the ‘caliphate’ and obey him as its leader. He also declared the al-Nuri Mosque the center of his caliphate. The al-Nuri Mosque was constructed in 1172, and had withstood 850 years of storms, wars and other unrest. It was destroyed by IS last month as IS began to flee the city.
The occupation of Mosul by IS during the past three years has been catastrophic. Tens of thousands were either killed in the fighting, or were simply murdered by IS. Anybody who was not Sunni was a target. The city is in ruins, and it is estimated that 900,000 people fled the city because of IS. Whether the citizens will return to Mosul remains to be seen, as there is little but ruins to return to.Tweet