The Iraqi army has won the battle of Mosul. Though ISIS has resisted with fierce determination, and has held the Iraqi army off for 9 months, the last buildings in Mosul’s Old City still under ISIS control have now been freed.
Since there are no reports of surrenders by ISIS fighters, it is to be presumed that the 300 or so of these fighters who were still resisting in Mosul’s Old City are now all dead.
This is not the end of ISIS in Iraq. The organisation still controls stretches of territory in the west of the country along the Syrian border, including the important town of Tal Afar, approximately 50 kilometres west of Mosul.
There must also be a risk of underground ISIS cells still operating in Mosul itself. However it is worth pointing out that the same was predicted for Aleppo when the Al-Qaeda controlled eastern district of that city was liberated from Al-Qaeda’s rule, and it turned out to be untrue.
The experience of Al-Qaeda rule was apparently sufficient to alienate permanently the Sunni citizen of Aleppo, and to end whatever lingering loyalty some of them might have had for violent Jihad. Given that ISIS is even more brutal than Al-Qaeda, it could that the experience of ISIS rule has similarly ended whatever loyalty the people of Mosul might once have had for ISIS. That is my belief and my wish.
The Iraqi army appears to have grown in effectiveness during the battle for Mosul. Its victory there will have emboldened further. The liberation of Mosul will also have freed Iraqi troops for redeployment elsewhere in Iraq – and conceivably by agreement with the Syrian government in Syria – as the war to annihilate ISIS continues.