Iraq has declared victory over the Islamic State terror group in Mosul after months-long campaign, dealing the biggest defeat yet to the jihadist group.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said he is in liberated Mosul to congratulate the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people on the achievement of the major victory, three years after IS declared its self-styled caliphate from the city.
The operation was backed by a US-led coalition battling IS group in Syria and Iraq, which has carried out waves of air strikes against the group and deployed military advisers on the ground. France President Emmanuel Macron was among the first world leaders to offer his congratulations. In a tweet he said Mosul has been liberated from IS.
The victory comes at an enormous cost. Much of Mosul is in ruins, thousands dead and wounded, and nearly a million people were forced to leave their homes. Prime Minister’s office said Abadi held meetings with commanders in Mosul and issued a series of commands on sustaining victories and eliminating the defeated remnants of IS, as well as establishing security and stability in the liberated city.
A US-led coalition launched military operations against IS in Syria and Iraq in mid-2014, carrying out waves of air strikes against the jihadists and sending advisers to work with local ground forces.