Iraq's Mosul tops list of defeats for IS

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The Islamic State group's defeat in Mosul, a city that once had a population of around two million, is by far its biggest since the jihadists seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Its other main stronghold of Raqa, in Syria, is also under attack from forces backed by a US-led coalition.
Here is a look at how the IS "caliphate" has been rolled back with defeats in Iraq and Syria, as well as in Libya:


Tikrit: The hometown of late dictator Saddam Hussein, north of Baghdad, fell in June 2014, soon after Mosul. It was retaken in March 2015 in an operation by Iraqi troops, police and Shia-dominated paramilitary forces.
Sinjar: Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by US-led coalition air strikes recaptured the northern town of Sinjar in November 2015. The jihadists there killed and abducted thousands from the Yazidi minority.
Ramadi/Fallujah: The capital of Anbar, Iraq's largest province, Ramadi was declared fully recaptured in February 2016. Neighbouring Fallujah, the first Iraqi city seized by IS in January 2014, was reclaimed in June 2016.
Qayyarah: Iraqi forces backed by coalition aircraft retook Qayyarah in August 2016, providing Baghdad with a platform to assault Mosul, the country's second city 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the north.
Battle for Mosul: Iraqi forces launched a major offensive to take back Mosul on October 17, 2016. After a broad, coalition-backed offensive lasting nearly nine months, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the city on Sunday.


Kobane: The Kurdish town in northern Syria became a symbol of the fight against IS. The jihadists were driven out by US-backed Kurdish forces in January 2015 after more than four months of fighting.
Palmyra: IS seized the ancient town in May 2015. It blew up UNESCO-listed Roman-era temples and looted ancient relics. Syrian regime forces backed by Russian warplanes and allied militia ousted IS in March 2016, but jihadist fighters won back control in December before being expelled a second time in March.
Manbij: On August 6, 2016, a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by US air strikes recaptured Manbij following a two-month battle. IS had seized the town in 2014 and used it as a hub for moving jihadists to and from Europe. It also controlled a key IS supply route.
Jarabulus: Turkish troops and Syrian rebels swept almost unopposed into the border town on August 24, 2016, during Operation Euphrates Shield, which also targets Kurdish militia.
Dabiq: Syrian rebels backed by Turkish warplanes and artillery captured Dabiq in October 2016. Under IS control since August 2014, Dabiq has ideological significance because of a prophecy that Christian and Muslim forces will battle there at the end of times.
Al-Bab: Turkish-backed Syrian rebels announced in February that they had taken full control of the northern town, the last IS bastion in Aleppo province, after weeks of deadly fighting.
Battle for Raqqa: On November 5, 2016, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters launched an operation to capture IS's de facto Syrian capital. On May 10, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the city of Tabqa and an adjacent dam, the last big town before Raqqa.


Sirte: The head of Libya's unity government announced on December 17, 2016 the liberation of the IS bastion of Sirte, while cautioning that the battle against Islamist rebels was not over. IS seized Sirte in June 2015 after it was driven out of Derna, its first stronghold in Libya.
On Wednesday, military strongman Khalifa Haftar declared victory against jihadist groups close to IS in Libya's second city Benghazi, almost two months after launching an attack to oust them.


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