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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, August 16, 2018

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Game over for ISIS? Iraqi forces declare success in Mosul

Downfall of world’s most dangerous terrorist group

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TEHRAN, Iraq - Declaring the downfall of ISIS, Iraqi special forces said on Sunday that their mission in Mosul was now complete after forces managed to reclaim some of the last remaining western districts from the grips of terror.

However, despite the mission ending, battle is still said to be ongoing in a few neighborhoods, forcing hundreds of civilians to flee their villages each day. 

After gaining control over the ancient city in June 2014 - ISIS expanded its foothold in the area. 

Now, they control around eight square kilometres of western Mosul along with the densely populated Old City.

This is where the final and the fiercest battles are expected to be played out. 

Since the old city is packed with narrow streets, tanks wouldn’t be able to fit through the area and the fight that awaits is expected to be most gruelling.

In a statement, Special forces spokesman Sabah al-Numan said his troops had completed their initial mission, but stood ready “to support any other forces if we are ordered to by the Prime Minister.”

The Mosul offensive, that began in November last year was aimed at retaking the city from the jihadis in a joint initiative between Iraqi government forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and U.S.-led coalition.

So far the war that has lasted six years has displaced an estimated 700,000 people.

According to figures released by UN, up to 200,000 more people could flee Mosul as Iraqi forces, led by the U.S. and allied militia push into the final ISIS strongholds.

Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement this week, “As military operations intensify and move closer to Mosul's Old City area, we expect that up to 200,000 more people will flee.”

Grande added, “The numbers of the people moving are now so large, it’s becoming more and more difficult to ensure civilians receive the assistance and protection they need.”

Meanwhile, according to Human Rights Watch, the Iraqi army and other local security officials have forced over 300 displaced families to return to districts of Mosul.

These districts, the organization said are still at risk of attack by ISIS fighters.

Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch noted, “These families should not be forcibly returned to unsafe areas and areas that lack adequate water, food, electricity, or health facilities.”

Meanwhile, suffering defeat in its stronghold, ISIS has intensified its attacks in other parts of the country. 

Terrorists carried out suicide bombings in central and southern Iraq over the past few days, leaving at least 27 people dead.

Suicide bombing also struck near the oil-rich city of Basra, leaving at least eight people, including five civilians and three troops, dead and 41 others injured.

Chief of the Basra Operations Command, Lieutenant General Jamil al-Shimmari said in a statement that the bomber blew up his explosives-laden car at a checkpoint north of Basra just behind a bus waiting to be cleared.

He added that a second attacker drove down a desert road after the explosion but security forces managed to kill him. 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after, claiming that it was targeting Iraqi Shia Muslims, that form the overwhelming majority of Basra’s population.

Meanwhile, ISIS also claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing in Baghdad that left 19 people dead and 33 others injured.

 

 

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