ISIS “Caliphate” in Mosul reduced to 600 square meters

nsnbc : The self-proclaimed Islamic State’s territory in Mosul has been reduced to about 600 square meters near the ruins of the historic al-Nuri Mosque, but the last remnants of ISIS troops there hold on tooth and nail offering bitter and stiff resistance.

al-Nuri mosque_Mosul_Iraq_Jul 2017ISIS has been militarily defeated in Mosul,  and it is only a question of time before Iraqi military and counter-terrorism forces also have established control over the last remaining 600 square meters of the “Caliphate” in Mosul. But fighting is complicated, bitter, and extremely dangerous.

Standing only meters away from the destroyed – leaning al-Hadba minaret of the al-Nuri mosque, Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi of the Golden Division told reporters “God willing, the remaining parts in Old Mosul will be liberated in the coming days”. This comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Hiader al-Abadi declared the “end of the ISIS statelet” on Thursday.

Sporadic gunfire could be heard near the mosque where an Iraqi commander said there were still pockets of ISIS resistance in Old Mosul. “The remaining area does not exceed 600 [square] meters,” al-Saadi added. Iraqi forces were not able to immediately enter the historic site Thursday, they said, because the extremist group rigged the area with explosives.

Grand Al-Nuri Mosque_Mosul_Jun 2017_Iraq_MoD Iraq (2)Prime Minister Abadi said the return of the symbolic site of the al-Nuri mosque to the nation meant the end of the caliphate. “Exploding the al-Nuri mosque and al-Hadba minaret by ISIS, and its return to the nest of the homeland today is the declaration of the end of the ISIS statelet,” Abadi said on Thursday. That, even though ISIS and the US blamed each other for the destruction of the historic mosque a week ago.

The commander of the Nineveh Operations Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah also stated on Thursday that the Federal Police and the elite Rapid Response Force had liberated al-Jamhouri hospital and a number of medical departments in Shifa district near Old Mosul.  Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesperson for the US-led anti-ISIS coalition told reporters in a news briefing on Thursday that the full liberation of Mosul was closer to being “days, than week or weeks.”

ISIS destroyed the 845-year old site last Wednesday as Iraqi forces were as close as 50 – 85 meters from it. Iraqi Federal Police said they liberated five Yezidis on Thursday as they pushed deeper into Old Mosul. Iraqi forces have already liberated several other areas in Old Mosul, including Hazar al-Sada, Ahmadiyah, and Faruq 2, and parts of Sanjkhana.

The Al-Nuri mosque is where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his so-called Caliphate on July 4, 2014, naming himself “Caliph,” leader of the whole Islamic world, seeking to found a new Islamic regime. The advances made against ISIS in the last eight months is in sharp contrast to the summer in 2014 when the extremist was in control of about 40 % of the Iraqi territories. Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga launched a joint offensive to drive out ISIS from Mosul on October 17, backed by the US-led global coalition.

F/AK – nsnbc 30.06.2017

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