A US Army private first class of the 82nd Airborne embraces a member of the Iraqi Federal Police in July in Mosul. Photo: Cpl. Rachel Diehm | US Army
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — President Donald Trump has congratulated Iraqis on the occasion of the liberation of Mosul from ISIS, adding that people of the United States grieve with the "heroic" Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish Peshmerga “who gave their lives to restore life to their country.”
“We congratulate Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Security Forces, and all Iraqis for their victory over terrorists who are the enemies of all civilized people,” read the statement released by the White House on Monday night.
Surrounded by Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga military commanders on Monday evening, Abadi declared “the end, the collapse, and the failure of the false terror state of ISIS.”
Trump stated: “We grieve with the Iraqi people for the loss of the heroic soldiers and Peshmerga who gave their lives to restore life to their country, and we honor their sacrifice.”
Kurdish Peshmerga were instrumental on the ground in halting ISIS advances in 2014, and continued to play a key role in the Mosul offensive by punching through ISIS lines west of the city and controlling outlying areas.
Trump noted the role of the United States and the Global Coalition who “are proud to stand with the Iraqi Security forces.”
ISIS militants controlled Mosul from June 10, 2014, until July 10, 2017.
“The victory in Mosul, a city where ISIS once proclaimed its so-called “caliphate,” signals that its days in Iraq and Syria are numbered,” Trump stated.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called ISIS’s occupation of Mosul “brutal.” He stated the group “terrorized and brutally murdered thousands of civilians” using mosques, schools and hospitals as bomb-building facilities and fighting positions.
“We honor the sacrifices of the Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi people, as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga, in achieving this victory, and express condolences for the many lives lost in the operation,” Tillerson stated.
US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman commended the Iraqi Security Forces “for their protection of civilians as well as the Iraqi and Kurdish Regional governments for their commitment to taking care of those who have been displaced.”
The US commander of Operation Inherent Resolve welcomed Abadi’s announcement and also stated the Peshmerga and Iraqi militias forces deserve a share of the credit for this hard-won victory.
“Mosul would have been a challenging fight for any army, and the coalition is proud to stand side-by-side with our Iraqi partners as they celebrate their hard-fought victory — a victory that has cost the lives of many brave Iraqis; soldiers, police and civilians,” Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend stated in a news release. "People of all ethnicities and sects have suffered and sacrificed together, not only for their own country, but to help provide security to the region and the world."
Nouri al-Maliki's term as Prime Minister of Iraq ended in September of 2014, when he was replaced by Abadi.
Barack Obama was the President of the United States with ISIS at the gates of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and 25 kilometers from the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil in late 2014, when the United States began supporting Iraqi and Kurdish fighters with air strikes, reconnaissance, intelligence to stop their advances.
The US training of Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) proved instrumental in spearheading the retaking of districts in Mosul. The US has promised to rebuild the war-ravaged unit.
Obama selected Brett McGurk as his Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition, and he has continued in that role under Trump.
"Heartfelt congratulations to Iraqi forces, PM Abadi, Peshmerga, and the people of Iraq on victory over ISIS terrorists in Mosul," McGurk wrote on Twitter. "Will never forget courage of Iraqi people in darkest hours of 2014 nor lives lost in our common fight against ISIS."