In the latest on the war against ISIS, Iraqi armed forces have made extraordinary inroads in Mosul, the terror group’s prized jewel of its so-called “caliphate.” In a sign of desperation, extremists denoted explosives inside the Great Mosque of al-Nuri. The historic mosque dated from the 12th century, and its loss is yet another heinous crime committed by ISIS.
This barbaric act, however, is a positive sign of sorts. The mosque was the site of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s only public appearance, where he announced the founding of the group’s caliphate. Its destruction is likely a sign that ISIS is suffering heavily at the hand’s of Iraqi forces working to liberate Mosul, which could liberate the city within the next week.
As Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi explains, the writing is on the wall:
[The] bombing of the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque is a formal declaration of their defeat.
The 2016 Mosul offensive has stretched into an epic 8 month battle that has slowly chipped away at ISIS’ strength. Many remaining fighters have fled to Syria, which is embroiled in an vicious ongoing civil war. There, global superpowers have ratcheted up tensions, with Russia threatening to shoot down US planes after a Syrian plane was destroyed. The tensions flared near ISIS’ Syrian base in Raqqa, where the terror group is also losing ground to the myriad different forces with stakes in the conflict.