Flanked by Iraqi forces of all stripes, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared Mosul has been recaptured from ISIS.
“From here, from the heart of the liberated and free Mosul, by the sacrifices of the Iraqis from all the provinces, we declare the great victory for all of Iraq and Iraqis,” al-Abadi announced Monday.
“This is a great celebration that crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis over the last three years.”
The US-led coalition fighting ISIS, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, congratulated Iraqi security forces “on their remarkable progress against ISIS while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives.”
The victory marks an end to a nine-month operation, which began when fighters of different ethnic and religious backgrounds made a coordinated push toward the city as US-led airstrikes helped pave their way.
Iraqi forces planted a national flag on the banks of the Tigris River in Mosul’s Old City to declare their victory, although fighting was still underway in one small pocket of the city Monday morning.
The victory marks the beginning of a long, arduous road to rebuilding the metropolis. Much of the historic city is reduced to rubble and is still under threat of ISIS attacks.
Soon, Iraqi officials and Mosul residents — as well as their US allies — will need to start looking at a long and challenging to-do list.