Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister or Iraq, has proclaimed victory in Mosul and arrived in the city to congratulate forces on the win. After fighting against ISIS militants, who have occupied Mosul for approximately three years, Iraqi forces have retaken the area and, according to reports, the “remaining pockets of ISIS are encircled in the last inches of the city.”
As reported by ABC News, soldiers with Iraqi Special Forces celebrated the victory by heading to the banks of the Tigris River and planting an Iraqi flag. An operation to retake the city of Mosul had been ongoing for approximately the last nine months.
Al-Abadi first announced the impending victory on Twitter, sharing photos of himself shaking hands with an Iraqi military officer after landing in the city. The post said, PM Al-Abadi arrives in Mosul to announce its liberation and congratulate the armed forces and the Iraqi people on this victory.”
Other military officials shared al-Abadi’s sentiment regarding the success. Lt. Gen. Jassim Nizal, part of the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division, even shared news of a “victory” in their assigned sector prior to the announcement from the prime minister. An additional message from the Federal Police also spread the news.
After receiving the news, some soldiers danced on the tops of tanks while patriotic music played in the background.
Some fighting is still occurring in the area. The Iraqi military is currently working to free civilians in a section of the city. ISIS militants are reportedly using the citizens as “human shields in approximately 50 to 100 houses.” Suicide bombers are also reported to be operating in the area as a means of defending the remaining holdouts.
Even as ISIS forces have been largely removed, a significant humanitarian crisis is affecting the area. Hundreds of thousands of Mosul residents fled amid the horrors of the occupation, leading to a refugee crisis. Surviving citizens also bore witness to a range of atrocities, including public beheadings and mean being thrown from the top of buildings to their death.
Much of the city of Mosul is in ruins, a reflection of the actions that have taken place since ISIS fighters took control of Mosul and military forces fought to reclaim the city.