07/10/2017, 13.31
IRAQ

The Iraqi premier announces the "liberation" of Mosul. But pockets of IS resistance remain

Al-Abadi speaks of "victory" over the Islamic State and a free city. But there is "one or two pockets" of resistance near the Old Town. AsiaNews sources: "Too soon" to say it is all over, there are still "operational elements", need to wait for the official announcement. The displaced and uncertainty for the future.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - Mosul's complete liberation is near, but there are still pockets of resistance in some limited areas of the city, and the Iraqi government has not yet made an official announcement of the defeat of the Islamic State. This is what AsiaNews sources in the northern metropolis of Iraq say, long considered the capital of the "Caliphate" and where a massive offensive was launched last October by the Iraqi army and the Kurdish militia.

The international community is celebrating the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) in the city that became their symbol, the first to fall to the jihadists in June 2014 and where the worst atrocities of al-Baghdadi’s men were consumed.

Yesterday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the liberated areas of Mosul and congratulated the army's leaders for the "victory" over the Islamic State. The city was liberated, he added, though "one or two pockets" of resistance remain in the western sector near the Old Town. "Victory is certain," he continued, turning to soldiers in military clothing - and what remains [of the IS] is surrounded. It's just a matter of time before we can announce the great victory of our people. "

The premier’s words reverberated among the Western Chancelleries and were welcomed with joy by various Christian communities in the world. French President Emmanuel Macron has published a tweet saying that " Mosul liberated from Daesh," he tweeted, using an Arabic acronym for IS. "Homage from France to all those, with our troops, who contributed to this victory. " Satisfaction was also expressed by the spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church Fr. Greich Rafic, who, on his Facebook profile, congratulates all those involved in "the liberation after nine months" of “door to door” battles. He recalls the houses of the Mosul Christians marked with the “N”three years ago and the long-suffering of the local population as well as the mass exodus to Erbil and Iraqi Kurdistan in search of shelter.

Celebrations took place on the streets of Mosul and also in the streets and squares of the capital, Baghdad.

However, AsiaNews sources in Mosul say that "it's still too early" to speak of complete success, because "some elements" of Daesh [Arabic acronym for IS] are still in the area. The source hopes that the battle ends "soon" and maybe "today or tomorrow" Iraq State TV will give the official announcement of the victory. For the moment there can only wait and hope.

Moreover, the fall of Mosul, even though complete, does not necessarily mean the end of the Islamic State's presence in Iraq. The militia of the "Caliphate" still control some (albeit limited) portions of the country, particularly in the western sector towards the border with Syria and along the Euphrates river. Among the cities still controlled by Isis are Tal Afar and three other top centers in Anbar Province.

Adding to this is the destruction of most of the Old City in Mosul, where almost all of the buildings have collapsed or present very serious damage. There is also a severe humanitarian emergency, with a number of displaced persons from the (former) jihadist stronghold, which has touched one million in three years. The challenge now is to think about reconstruction in view of unity and pluralism, which have long been asked by the Iraqi Catholic Church and the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako.

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