Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently revealed that Eastern Mosul is completely free from ISIS. This news comes after the country launched an operation to free Mosul three months earlier. After a day of intense battle, Iraq’s troops backed by the US, drove ISIS militants across the Tigris river. ISIS had taken over the city in 2014. However, it was slowly losing control over Mosul. Iraqi military’s recent success comes on back of its efforts to free the city ever since.
Iraq’s troops were gaining ground in the eastern parts for some time now. Earlier in this month, the troops retook some parts of East Mosul. These include a government complex, some areas on Tigris river’s east bank and a university in Mosul. After this headway, it was just a matter of time for the troops to drive out ISIS.
An article in Fox News states that Prime minister al-Abadi praised the security forces for their “unmatched heroism.” The Prime Minister also thanked the public for their support throughout the operation. He then urged the forces to free West Mosul from the clutches of the terrorist organization. “I call on those heroes to move quickly to liberate the remaining part of Nineveh province, especially the right side, which is the western side of the city,” he said, states a CNN report.
Battle for West Mosul
After fleeing the eastern part of the city, ISIS militants made way to West Mosul. This presents another major challenge to Iraq’s armed troops. This is because after facing defeat in East, it is highly unlikely that ISIS will easily let go of the West Mosul. Additionally, the terrorist organization has also lost control of Hit, Sharqat, Ramadi, Qayyara and Falluja. Many believe that they have been driven out of Tikrit and Kirkuk as well.
As a result, West Mosul is their only urban stronghold at the moment. Military experts believe that the terrorist organization will not let go of West Mosul easily. Hence, troops should ready themselves for an even intense and a long drawn battle. While Prime Minister al-Abadi wants ISIS out of West Mosul, he too cannot predict the time taken to complete the operation. “I can’t tell now, but we are capable of doing so and we will do so,” he told Associated Free Press.
Civilian life at stake
Another major concern is a fact that civilian life is at stake in West Mosul. An article in Daily Mail states that already 750,000 people from the region are under ISIS’ control and aid groups as well as human rights organizations fear for their safety. Lise Grande, who is the UN Humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, is worried for civilian life in the region. Grande hopes that the government authorities are doing everything in their power to protect the civilians, who have been exposed to ultimate risk. She wants the warring parties to protect common people and ensure that they have access to life-saving assistance.
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