SOFIA — The northern Iraqi city of Mosul will be declared “fully liberated” from the so-called Islamic State (IS) next Saturday, a source close to the Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi said on Thursday.
According to the source the Iraqi flag will be raised in the entire of Mosul and the last bullet will be fired by the Prime Minister himself on Saturday as the forces expect to retake the last few areas of the city from the IS militants in the next two days, The Baghdad Post reported.
Hossem al-Abar, a member of the Nineveh Province Council said that the Old City of Mosul and the Grand Mosque of Nuri were the birth place of the self-proclaimed Islamic “caliphate” and the Iraqi forces will defeat the extremist group at the same areas.
Abar explained that only few neighborhoods in the city are remaining under IS-control among which are the districts of al-Maqbara, al-Senaat, and al-Tahrir, but some of those areas have already been encircled by the Iraqi army. However, he said that if the Old City is recaptured then the entire city will be declared liberated, as the area is vital for the progress of the ongoing military operation.
In addition, security expert Ahmed al-Sherifi said that the end of the ongoing offensive against IS in Iraq is to be reached in the nearest future, as the forces are currently aiming to liberate the neighborhood of al-Hadar, after which Tal Afar will be liberated and the city will be declared fully liberated in a few days.
The Iraqi government backed by the US-led coalition launched an operation for liberating the city if Mosul in October last year with the support of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the government-backed Shi’ite militia Hashd al-Shaabi. By the beginning of 2017, the forces managed to fully liberated the entire eastern part of the city, which then allowed them to focus on the next phase of the operation aiming to recapture the remaining western and central parts of Mosul.