ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The United Nations representative in Iraq on Monday congratulated the people of Iraq for the liberation of Mosul, tempering celebrations by stating much work is left ahead for Iraqis to fully recover.
On Monday, in a televised speech, Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi officially announced the complete liberation of Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq occupied by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in June 2014.
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Ján Kubiš in a statement welcomed the victory and expressed it provides an opportunity for Iraq “to rise again, strong and united.”
He mentioned that although Mosul has been liberated from the jihadist group, the fight against terrorism is not over in the country. “More work lies ahead for Iraq on its road to full recovery and lasting peace.”
“This is a historic victory for Iraq and the world and a resounding defeat for Daesh and terrorism, signaling their end. The nightmare that the people of Mosul have endured for three years is over. Mosul is finally free. The terrorist Daesh’s so-called Caliphate, ushering in an unprecedented reign of terror, is in the final convulsions,” Kubiš added.
Mosul's military operation began mid-October 2016 and had lasted over eight months.
“The credit goes first and foremost to the Iraqis themselves. Heroism and martyrdom of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Popular Mobilization Forces, the Peshmerga, and tribal units, with the military backing of the International Coalition, were instrumental in achieving this victory."
"The price has been very high, but for Iraq, the unity of the people and the country has been at stake. By jointly destroying Daesh in Mosul the people of Iraq have sent a resounding message that they see their future together,” the UN official stated.
He praised the Iraqi forces and Abadi for their efforts in protecting civilians while crushing IS in the city. “Their efforts have been exceptional.”
Mosul has been severely damaged by clashes between the Iraqi forces and IS as well as the US-led coalition airstrikes. The UN official states that much work is left in terms of recovery and promoting peace and stability in the area.
“Much work lies ahead for Iraq on its road to full recovery. In addition to restoring security and the rule of law to the liberated areas, the immediate priority is for accelerated stabilization efforts to enable the millions of civilians who have fled the fighting across the country to voluntarily and safely return to their homes and restart their lives, to be followed by reconstruction,” Kubiš continued.
“The massive humanitarian work should run parallel to a robust political process to conduct elections and achieve national and societal reconciliation and rebuild the social fabric in order to ensure justice, dignity and sustainable peace for the future generations.”
He mentioned that the road ahead would be “fraught with challenges” for the Iraqi people until they fully recover and bring sustainable peace in liberated areas.
Editing by G.H. Renaud