Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday formally declared Mosul liberated from the IS after nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.
ISIS swept across much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland in a lightning offensive that year, proclaiming a self-styled "caliphate" straddling Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
Coalition military officials have pointed to East Mosul which was recaptured in January as evidence that the Iraqi security forces are able to secure big cities with life returning to some sense of normalcy after capture. "It's a combination of army and local police but increasing the local police are taking the forefront in that".
The U.S. and its allies have been providing advisers, including Green Berets, in addition to airstrikes in support of the effort.
While the Iraqi-led coalition is expected to eventually defeat ISIS in the region, the suffering that the terror group has inflicted on Mosul's residents has left a lasting scar on the city and its people.
We congratulate Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Security Forces, and all Iraqis for their victory over terrorists who are the enemies of all civilized people.
But they urged Iraqis to pick up the pieces of their country, parts of which were easily overran by IS three years ago. Many fighters used civilians as human shields, ducking behind the innocent before maneuvering through Mosul's bombed out Old City, which had become a labyrinth of elaborate underground tunnels and trenches.
Additionally, there are still civilians trapped in areas such as Tal Afar, Hawija and western Anbar, who are at extreme risk as fighting, is likely to occur in these areas.
"There's a lot of work to do in the weeks and months ahead", Grande stated.
"This barbaric group remains dug in west of the Euphrates and clearing operations in and around Mosul will be needed because of the threat from improvised explosive devices", he added.
-The writer is a lecturer at the American University of Beirut's history department.
Looking at the fight against Daesh both in Mosul and Raqqah suggests that it will only return but with a new and perhaps more vicious face.
"Honestly, all this death and all this destruction - I don't believe it was worth it", Abbas said.
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