Mosul celebrates a year after victory over ISIS

By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad


An Iraqi girl swings amid the ruins of the city of Mosul. [Photo from Mosul Eye Facebook page]

Mosul marks the first anniversary of its liberation from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) on Tuesday (July 10th) amid increased security and stability, though government services are still lacking.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in Mosul one year ago, marking the end of one of the fiercest military operations against the group.

"The situation in the city of Mosul today cannot be compared in any way to how it was [under ISIS]," Ninawa provincial council services committee member Hosam Eddin al-Abbar told Diyaruna.

Misery, terror and destruction prevailed while ISIS was in control, he said.

Mosul residents have now had their civil rights fully restored and thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned, al-Abbar said, including members of religious and ethnic minority groups.

"Mosul residents today feel secure about their lives and properties," he said.

Services still lacking

Although the situation in Mosul is increasingly stable, al-Abbar said, the city still suffers from a lack of services, especially in the devastated western neighbourhoods, where there have been rebuilding and construction delays.

"Also, the economic situation in the city is in clear recession and there are no employment opportunities for the youth," he said, calling on the federal government to extend loans and implement projects to create jobs.

Residents need the Iraqi government to release compensation payments to those whose homes and businesses were destroyed, he said.

"The compensations would consolidate the foundations of stability and create employment opportunities for residents," al-Abbar added.

Post-liberation, Mosul is much better on the security, political and social fronts than it was before, journalist and civil activist Laith al-Rashdi told Diyaruna.

"However, services are very poor, poverty is widespread and reconstruction projects are beset with delays," he said.

Respect for security forces

"The battle of Mosul was not merely a victory on the ground, as it also truly won over the hearts and sentiments of residents," security analyst Jassem Hanoun told Diyaruna.

Security forces have gone from being "unwelcome before 2014 to becoming popularly-backed forces that have the trust of residents", he said.

The battle for Mosul also earned Iraqi forces the respect of the international community through their success in crushing ISIS, he said.

"Iraqi forces today, by virtue of the popular support they enjoy and military experience they gained, have grown stronger than they were in the past, and terrorist groups no longer pose any major challenge to them," Hanoun said.

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