Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi, has declared victory in the battle for Mosul, and the Iraqi military has "raised the Iraqi flag" on the banks of the Tigris on the afternoon of Sunday, July 9. The official announcement is expected in the coming hours, however victory parades were reported in Baghdad and parts of Mosul as early as Saturday, July 8 in anticipation of Mosul's recapture. Celebrations are likely to continue throughout Iraq in the coming days. The defeat is the biggest the Islamic State (IS) has suffered in Iraq since it took control of Mosul in 2014.
Local media sources have reported that as the battle draws to an end, the humanitarian crisis in Mosul is worsening, and numerous cases of malnutrition and psychological trauma have been reported among residents. Approximately half of the population remains displaced, although tens of thousands of people are likely to return to the city in the near future, putting pressure on the Iraqi government and NGOs to begin immediate reconstruction of the city. The United Nations (UN) has estimated that it will cost at least USD 1 billion to repair basic infrastructure in the city.
Multiple media sources report that approximately 100 militants from the Islamic State (IS) remain in a small pocket of Old Mosul (approximately two blocks) along the banks of the Tigris, and sporadic violence is expected to continue over the coming days.
IS captured Mosul in 2014, leading to the displacement of nearly 700,000 civilians. With the assistance of US-led airstrikes, the Iraqi army launched an offensive against IS positions in October 2016. Mosul was a symbolic and strategically important stronghold for IS in Iraq, and the fall of the city is the biggest defeat for IS yet. Iraqi armed forces worked alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga to make territorial gains in and around Mosul; Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces entered the easternmost districts of the city on November 1, 2016, and Iraqi forces liberated East Mosul on January 18, 2017. The push has been deemed largely successful; IS territory in northern Iraq has been reduced to the currently-contested sliver of Old Mosul.
Individuals throughout Iraq are advised to remain vigilant due to the high risk of terrorist attacks and militant activity.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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