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What happened in Mosul?
Mosul is Iraq’s second most populuos city. In June, 2014, ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS) militants seized Mosul. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, declared his caliphate in the Great Mosque in Mosul. After nearly 2 years of ISIL rule, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Hezbollah and the CJTF–OIR started a campaign, which we called it “Mosul Offensive”.
Operation Conquest, also known as Mosul Offensive, was an offensive against the positions of the ISIL in Mosul and surrounding region. The aim of operation was to set the conditions for an upcoming battle which aimed eliminate ISIL in Mosul (by the way, we called it “Battle Of Mosul”).
After 8 months from the start, with many fight, Mosul Offensive was successfully ended. When they surrounded the ISIL, the next part of plan was begun.
Battle Of Mosul
Battle of Mosul was one of the most important battle against ISIL. After The Mosul Offensive “preparation”, Allied forces (Iraq, Kurdistan, America etc.) started a major battle against Mosul. On 16 October 2016, they thought that it is time to retake the Mosul from ISIL occupation.
Mosul has 2 side: East and West. These sides seperated by Tigris River. First step of campaign was retake East side of Mosul. On 17 October 2016, The Iraqi and Kurdish (peshmerga) forces launched their offensive on the eastern side of the city from Mosul’s east, north and south. They recaptured an important television station, Mosul University, respectively. With all these gains and non-stop fight, they took the entire eastern side of city on 24 January 2017.
On 19 February, after Iraqi forces established complete control of eastern side, they finally launched second operation for western side of Mosul. On 22 June, when coalition forces advancing into ISIL’s territories, according to U.S and Iraqi officials, historical (it was builded in 12th century) Al-Nuri Mosque was blown up by ISIL. On the other hand, ISIL blamed a coalition airstrike for mosque’s destruction. The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said “Daesh’s (ISIL’s) bombing of the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque is a formal declaration of their defeat,”, referring to 2014 declaration of ISIL in al-Nuri Mosque.
On 10 July, al-Abadi formally declared victory over ISIL in Mosul. He said “I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist Daesh announced from Mosul”.
You can see how operation was succeded by clicking this animation video link.
Casualties and Sacrifices
The brutal battle has killed thousands and displaced more than 1 million people, according to United Nations. Unfortunately, nearly half of these casualties were innocent civilians. They weren’t only killed by ISIL, but also killed by coalition airstrikes (note: there were 1,166 airstrikes made by coalition, during Mosul Battle).
Mosul was highly damaged. Experts predict that rebuilding the Old City (just a small region in Mosul) would cost 1 billion dollar.
After that battle, the attention turned to Raqqa (capital city of ISIL) and Tal Afar. Coalition forces also recaptured these cities. Now they are planning the next operation, which targeted Hawija Pocket.
In conclusion, ISIL is terminating step by step. Therefore, we can clearly say that ISIL is going to terminated as soon as possible, without any doubt. So, will Middle East be a peaceful region after ISIL? Of course not. If we look back to the history, especially 21st century, we can see Middle East always had chaos and confusions. I hope Middle East will be a stable one day, but it seems that day may never come.
Photograph Description: A U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin conducts a fire mission at Qayyarah West, Iraq, in support of the Iraqi security forces’ push toward Mosul, Oct. 17, 2016.
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