Since the capture of Mosul by the Iraqi State in July 2017, the city has been left with over 5000 destroyed buildings including mosques, schools and hospitals.
The bloody campaign finally came to an end after nine months of intense fighting that killed thousands of Iraqis and displaced millions of residents.
Many observers of the war claim that there are still chances of increased suicide attacks in the city. Many other small Iraqi cities remain under control of the Islamic State.
However, the fall of Mosul signifies the biggest loss for the Islamic State in terms of territorial area. But they are still inspiring people to join their ranks, which the Iraqi government calls as a challenge.
Right now, the country faces big challenges in restoring electricity and rebuilding destroyed hospitals, schools, homes and bridges, which were wrecked in the ground combat and by the airstrikes, artillery fire and rocket attacks carried out by the American-led coalition to help Iraqi troops advance. The cost of reconstruction by UN led experts has been around $700 million.
Some grand structures including the al- Nuri Mosque have also been pulverised in the war. Both Islamic State and Iraqi State have blamed each other for the destruction.
It was infact this mosque, where Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in June 2014, self proclaimed himself as the Caliph of the new Islamic State and plead to lead the Muslim community. Since 1924, the office of a caliph had not been initiated until Baghdadi’s announcement.
The motto of Islamic State has been ‘baqiyah wa tatamaddad’ meaning remain and expand. The target maps drawn by them for the creation of Islamic State seem as if they want to bring a likeness of Ottoman Caliphate (strongest Muslim empire till date) back in the current times.
They had been getting support from the regional Sunni tribes. Young Muslim militants have read online manuals such as the ‘Management of Savagery’, first published in 2004, a document widely popular all over the world. It describes the phases of expansionism and campaign (a form of chain sweeping one country after another).
Therefore, it isn’t hard to believe that Islamic State has been strongly backed by Islamic theology and discourse over the course of time, to make Muslims return to their original way of scriptures and making reforms.
Islamic State fighters have governed the area with strictest forms of Islamic law, which included beheadings and holding women as sex slaves. American war commanders claim that the intense fighting in Iraqi cities against the Islamic State have reminded them the years of World War II.
New York Times journalists, who reported from Mosul, with the help of their fixers, witnessed Iraqi soldiers ‘trading volleys’ with Islamic State snipers from the roofs on nearby buildings in the city.
Mosul has been a war spot, not since the recent past, but since the US led invasion in 2003. It is regarded as a bastion of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority and maintained the tradition of supporting Saddam Hussain and his Arab Baath Party.
Shadow administration of the Islamic State, during early days of their control, had forced many Iraqi military officers into exile and many were assassinated.
General Abdul Wahab Al Saadi, who leads the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, described the recent perching of the Iraqi flag on the banks of Tigris as a symbolic victory against the Islamic State.
Currently, several thousand people are in the process of returning to places like Western Mosul. According to UN data, about 676,000 people have left Mosul. These events indicate that the war has turned Iraqis into war refugees.
In May, earlier this year, Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar Al Abadi, declared eastern Mosul liberated from Islamic State fighters. The Iraqi parliament had also recently passed a law, for initiation of Iranian backed Shia militia fighters into the State Force who were known as Popular Mobilisation Forces.
Islamic State militants have used C4 in their bombs in Iraq during the war. The most surprising thing that the Iraqi forces found lately was the usage of a weapon-making factory in a church, including plastic sachets of white explosive powder.
Foreign nurses, working in the war, have witnessed civilians coming to hospitals, with crushed torsos and limbs, besides, nursing Iraqi forces who came injured with bullet wounds during their combat campaigns.
One of the many reasons of the formation of Islamic State in Iraq had been the division between Shiite and Sunni communities, the political disparities that had turned rife from time to time, in the country and in the Arab world in general.
The divisions had recently sparked off during the Shiite led government of former Prime Minister, Nuuri Kamal al Maliki. Many viewed his rule as a project drawn against Sunnis and to frighten them.
People following an extremist religious ideology due to presence of ethnic tensions is not holding the country together.
Infact, for these religious divisions, many Sunnis viewed the presence of Islamic State in Iraq as a protection for their abuses. This set of ideology had infact inspired many young boys pick up the gun and they went to war joining Islamic State ranks.
The fall of Mosul indicates a sudden transformation in the region.