Removing ISIS from Mosul will take time: Coalition official

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Militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. File photo

ARA News

Removing Islamic State (ISIS) extremists from Mosul and the rest of Iraq will be a drawn-out process, coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorrian cautioned reporters on Wednesday.

“I think that’s going to take some time, because Daesh has been there for more than two years and they’ve loaded the city with improvised explosive devices, booby traps, tunnels, all sort of things,” Col Dorrian said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. “Given the size and scope of [Mosul] it’s going to take some time to restore normalcy.”

“A lot of people have talked about the Mosul operation starting as if that means that once we start that, ISIS is going to be removed. We believe that it’s gonna be quite some time before this country is completely Daesh-free,” he stated.

“The liberation of Mosul is a very important task, but there’s still going to be quite a bit of work to be done after that in re-establishing stability in Mosul, in pushing Daesh out of all the other areas of the country where they have a significant presence, places like Tal Afar and al-Qaim and other places along the Euphrates River Valley closer to the Syrian border,” Col Dorrian concluded.

“As you saw Ramadi, it took about six months to get that city cleared. And they had only been there for a few months. They’ve been in Mosul for two years. And, […] as you know, Mosul is about three times larger than Ramadi,” Major General Gary Volesky, commander of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Operation Inherent Resolve, said in May.

Director of the US National Intelligence, James Clapper, told the Washington Post that Mosul will not be captured this year, and that the struggle will take more time. “We’re killing a lot of their fighters. We will retake Mosul, but it will take a long time and be very messy. I don’t see that happening in this administration.”

Nevertheless, the coalition spokesman said that ISIS will most likely revert back to terrorist-style attacks and a low-level insurgency if the group’s de facto capital is recaptured by Iraqi security forces.

“Daesh have statehood aspirations. They have said and they’ve declared Mosul to be the capital of their caliphate,” Colonel Dorrian said. “Once Mosul is liberated, and that is shown to be a farce, what we will see is Daesh reverting back to what they really are, which is a terrorist organization and perhaps an insurgent threat…”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News & Agencies 

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