Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 29 June 2017, 20:55 hrs, Post #243.
Reporters: Khaled al-Ramahi and Maher Chmaytelli (“Reuters”).
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Accessed on 29 June 2017, 20:55 hrs, UTC.
On Thursday, 29 June 2017, Iraqi troops and counter-insurgency units captured the remains of the historic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul’s Old City, thus ending nearly eight months of deadly street-by-street fighting against dug-in Islamic State forces. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Reuters that the capture of the historic mosque is a “symbolic victory” over the Islamic State, which announced its creation three years ago on the steps of the mosque.
As mop-up operations continue in and around Mosul, anti-ISIS/ISIL militias continue surrounding the city of Raqqa in eastern Syria, which is the de facto capital of the Islamic State.
Here’s the current update from correspondents Kahled al-Ramahi and Maher Chmaytelli:
“The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement, referring to the hardline Sunni Muslim group by an Arabic acronym.”
“The fall of Mosul would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the IS caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, ruling over hundreds of thousands of people.”
“Its stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, is also close to falling.”
“A U.S.-backed Kurdish-led coalition besieging Raqqa on Thursday fully encircled it after closing the militants’ last way out from the south, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.”
“These setbacks have reduced Islamic State’s territory by 60 percent from its peak two years ago and its revenue by 80 percent, to just $16 million a month, said IHS Markit.”
“Their fictitious state has fallen,” an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.
“However, it still occupies an area as big as Belgium, across Iraq and Syria, according to IHS Markit, an analytics firm.”
As significant as this victory is, the Battle for Mosul is only the beginning of efforts to neutralize the Islamic State. Fighters surviving this battle will melt into the desert to regroup and fight another day. Even after the anticipated fall of Raqqa, the battle against Syrian President Assad will continue. The fighting will continue with Russian and U.S.-supported militias fighting to fill the vacuum created by the collapse of the Islamic State. This war will last a long time.
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest