Turkey, world welcome Iraq’s victory over ISIL in Mosul
ANKARA / WASHINGTONIraq has received congratulations from several countries, including Turkey, for its landmark victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul, a city where the jihadist group had first declared its so-called caliphate.
Iraqi forces launched back in October their campaign to take Mosul, which was seized by the jihadists during a 2014 offensive that also saw them take control of large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Turkey was among the first countries to extend congratulations to Baghdad, offering help to rebuild the city.
“It is happy for us to hear that the struggle against DAESH in Iraq is coming to an end and that results have been obtained in Mosul,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the World Petroleum Forum in Istanbul on July 10, using an Arabic acronym for the jihadist group.
“The situation in Mosul is very important for us,” Erdoğan added.
In 2014, personnel at Turkey’s Mosul consulate were taken hostage by ISIL after the jihadist militants seized control of Iraq’s third largest city.
The hostages were freed in September following a secret operation conducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
“Mosul is in ruins. Who will pay the costs?” Erdoğan asked.
“We welcome the successful completion of the military operation conducted since October 2016 for the liberation of Mosul,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement.
“In the upcoming period, we are ready to contribute to the reconstruction efforts of Mosul and to the elimination of the conditions that led to the emergence of DEASH and other radical organizations,” it said.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the victory is a “critical milestone” in the world’s fight against the extremist group.
Tillerson is congratulating Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the victory and also praising Kurdish forces that have helped in the fight. He’s also sending condolences to those lost in the operation.
Tillerson added that much more must be done to defeat ISIL.
Russia said July 10 that “a smashing blow” had been delivered to ISIL in Mosul.
“Liberation of Mosul has become possible thanks to the courage and persistence of the Iraqi military, people’s militias and Kurdish Peshmerga units. It has proved that the government and the people of friendly Iraq can confront terrorist threats through pooled efforts,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to the state-run TASS Russian News Agency.
The U.S.-led coalition warned that victory in Mosul did not mark the end of the group’s global threat.
“Now it is time for all Iraqis to unite to ensure ISIS [ISIL] is defeated across the rest of Iraq and that the conditions that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq are not allowed to return again,” Lieutenant General Stephen J. Townsend said in a statement.
Iran congratulated Iraq and offered its help to rebuild the devastated country.
“Congratulations to brave people and Government of Iraq upon liberation of Mosul,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “When Iraqis join hands, no limits to what they can achieve.”
U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called July 11 for “accountability and dialogue” to heal the trauma of Mosul. Zeid demanded that offenders be brought to justice and all violations thoroughly probed and urged Iraq to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Meanwhile, ISIL captured most of a village south of Mosul despite losing control of its stronghold in the city, an Iraqi army officer and residents said, deploying guerrilla-style tactics as its self-proclaimed caliphate crumbles.
Militants, armed with machine guns and mortars, have now seized more than 75 percent of Imam Gharbi, a village on the western bank of the Tigris River some 70 milometers south of Mosul, and reinforcements are expected, the Iraqi army officer said.