MOSUL, Iraq – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visted what he called a “the liberated Mosul” Sunday.
“The Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Aabdi arrives in the liberated Mosul, and congratulates the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people for achieving the great victory," his media office said in a short statement in Arabic.
Abadi stated in a tweet later on Sunday that he was glad to see the return of normal life for citizens. This is the result of the sacrifices of fighters, whose courage lightened the world.
He also visited Iraqi forces near Nabi Younis Mosque, where he he and Iraqis congratulated eachother.
He also visited the headquarters of the Federal Police in western Mosul meeting with the field commanders and the Iraqi security forces, his office said in another statement.
Federal Police declared mission accomplished on Saturday after they liberated several areas in Old Mosul.
Abadi also headed to the Nineveh Provincial Building in eastern Mosul after walking the streets and crossing the Tigris river.
Abadi also instructed the field commanders to keep the momentum, continue the victories, and clear the liberated areas from the remaining ISIS militants.
The commanders explained the phases of the offensive “in detail” to the PM, the statement added.
Iraq's Joint Command stated earlier in the day that the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) liberated al-Maeydan area in Old Mosul, and arrived at the edge of the Tigris river that bisects the city into the eastern and western half.
It added that CTS forces were advancing on the Quleiaat area, still under the ISIS control.
Iraqi forces started to put posters on Sunday in the city stating ISIS is gone and normalcy can return.
On Mosul's liberation, French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a tweet on Sunday that France and its troops give homage to all those who contributed to this victory.
PM Abadi declared "the end of the statelet of ISIS," on June 29 after the liberation of the site of the now-destroyed symbolic al-Nuri Mosque in Old Mosul.
ISIS blew up the historic site and its minaret about a week before that.
"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,” PM Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces stated then.
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.
Also on Sunday in Salahadin, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS Brett McGurk visited Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, who is also the commander in chief of Peshmerga forces.
The two spoke about the latest developments in the Mosul operation, according to a statement from the office of the Kurdish President.
"Mr. McGurk commended the Iraqi and the Peshmerga forces for their coordination with the coalition and used the opportunity to express his condolences to the families and loved ones of the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces who were killed during the operation," read the statement.
Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, is received by Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in Erbil on Monday. Photo: KRP
More than 1,700 Peshmerga have been killed fighting ISIS with some 10,000 casualties since the Kurdish fighters and Iraqi army units backed by US air support halted ISIS advances some 25 kilometers away from Erbil.
The US has trained 20,000 Peshmerga fighters.
During their talks on Monday, McGurk briefed Barzani on the "progress" of the Raqqa operation in Syria.
"He added that the Coalition is grateful for the assistance that has been provided by President Barzani insofar as the passage between Iraq and Syria is concerned," the statement added.
The US has backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters in northern Syria including in the fight to retake the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa, where ground fighters recently breached the Old City's ancient walls after precision air strikes. The SDF is largely comprised of Kurdish fighters.
The fight for Mosul launched about nine months ago has brutally affected the civilians, forcing more than 900, 000 people to leave their homes, some taking the road to death.
Nineveh Governor Nofal al-Hammam has said that the destruction in west Mosul is 30 times higher than city’s east, liberated in late January after 100 days of fighting.
US Army paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division greet residents of liberated ares in western Mosul on Monday. The United States as part of the global coalition has assisted Iraqi forces with its advise, assist, intelligence and reconnaissance roles.
RETAKING OF MOSUL
From June 10, 2014 until today, ISIS has controlled Mosul for 1,126 days, or 3 years, 1 month.
Forces of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi overrun Mosul on June 10, 2014
When they threaten Shiite holy sites, Iraq's top Shiite cleric issues a call to arms against the group, bringing a flood of volunteers to militias.
Baghdadi declares ISIS caliphate on July 4, 2014
At the pulpit of the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in a 21-minute video his so-called caliphate on July 4, 2014, naming himself “caliph,” leader of the whole Islamic world, seeking to found a new Islamic regime.
“Do jihad in the cause of God, incite the believers and be patient in the face of this hardship,” he said.
The mosque is named for Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zangi, an Islamic Kurdish ruler of Mosul and Aleppo, who had the mosque built in 1172 – 1173. Nur al-Din brought together Muslims in Iraq and Syria to form a united front against the crusaders.
Mosul offensive begins on October 17, 2016
"The hour has come and the moment of great victory is near," said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a televised address. "I announce today the start of the operation to liberate the province of Nineveh."
Kurdish President Masoud Barzani was commanding all Peshmerga forces and arrived at the front with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
“[At 10 p.m.], Peshmerga forces in Khazir, East of Mosul had achieved their key objectives: clear nine villages and extend control over the Erbil-Mosul Road,” the General Command of the Peshmerga Forces announced at the end of the day.
Video of the Peshmerga breaking through the frontline barriers.
Iraqi forces enter Mosul on November 1, 2016
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said their forces advanced towards Mosul city centre from the north and southeast, adding that their forces liberated several villages north, southeast, and southwest of Mosul.
Peshmerga liberate Bashiqa on November 11, 2016
The town of Bashiqa came under full control of Peshmerga forces but pockets of ISIS militants remained, only to be killed the days after.
Peshmerga made giant advances in Bashiqa from three directions.
Bashiqa had been surrounded by the Peshmerga for two weeks.
East Mosul declared liberated on January 24
“Security forces liberated the left coast fully today after expelling Daesh and have raised the Iraqi flags over government buildings,” Abadi announced in a press conference, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
West Mosul offensive begins on February 19
Addressing the Iraqi forces taking part in the operation, Abadi said, "I have told the world how brave you are and everyone is proud of you, of your success and victory with the people."
Symbolic Al-Nuri Mosque and Minaret destroyed on June 21
ISIS militants destroyed the 845-year-old famed mosque and minaret in west Mosul on June 21. It is where Baghdadi declared his so-called caliphate.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called this "the declaration of the end of the statelet of ISIS" on June 29.