Iraq News

Iraqi forces, citizens in Mosul unify efforts to prevent ISIS comeback

By Khalid al-Taie

Iraqi soldiers patrol a neighbourhood in Mosul in search of 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' elements. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service]

Iraqi soldiers patrol a neighbourhood in Mosul in search of 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' elements. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service]

Iraqi forces are reinforcing their positions in Mosul as part of a series of measures to consolidate security and keep the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) from attempting a comeback.

Military units deployed throughout the city's neighbourhoods are preserving security "with a high level of professionalism and discipline", Ninawa provincial council member Banyan al-Jarba told Diyaruna.

Since the liberation of Mosul was announced on July 10th, he said, there has been "a high level of security and military activity in the city, and all efforts are now focused on stability and paving the way for the reconstruction stage".

Iraqi forces are establishing their positions and have opened police stations and checkpoints and started patrols in the city, al-Jarba said.

"They are ramping up intelligence by co-operating with residents to uncover scores of ISIS hideouts in order to hunt down the group's secret networks," he said.

Meanwhile, security efforts must be redoubled in the areas surrounding Mosul in order to prevent militants from finding a foothold, he said, calling for Iraqi forces to close the western border of Ninawa province in an effort to cut off ISIS supplies routes and infiltration attempts.

Post-liberation plan

Holding the liberated land is no less important than the battle for liberation, said Iraqi MP Mohammed Nouri Abed Rabbu, who represents Ninawa province, adding that Iraqi forces should remain alert to any challenge.

"Security forces have been well prepared for the post liberation stage, and there are several measures that are being followed in this regard," he told Diyaruna.

These include hunting down ISIS elements, particularly those who have blended with displaced populations fleeing the fighting, and those who have been hiding out in residential areas.

Such steps are "necessary for building a safe future for the city", he said, adding that local residents should be encouraged to volunteer to protect Mosul and join the ranks of the security forces.

In addition to security measures, steps such as fighting corruption and partisanship and providing jobs for youth are essential in countering terrorism and ensuring stability, Abed Rabbu said.

The responsibility of protecting Mosul now falls to the Counter-Terrorism Service, the army's 15th and 16th Brigades and the federal police who are providing support to the local police and tribal forces.

The involvement of these forces is "necessary to strengthen and sustain victory", said security adviser Fadel Abu Ragheef, commending the objective of bringing "the young men of Mosul into the fold of the local security forces".

He also applauded efforts to involve local residents in intelligence-gathering efforts to help prevent future ISIS infiltration or attacks.

"Mosul is entering a new era in its history," he said. "Everyone is responsible for fighting the scourge of terrorism."

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