The Hardest Fight Comes After Mosul Falls

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After eight months of grinding conflict, Iraqi commanders are now confident that the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS is in its final phase. Pushing across the Tigris River, Iraqi Security Forces have liberated nearly all of western Mosul and, although defeating ISIS’ last stand in the densely packed urban environment of the Old City will be difficult, Iraq’s generals predict victory as early as June 10. As Lieutenant General Qasim Nazzal told Iraqi state television on Sunday that ISIS “is drawing its last dying breath.”

June 10 may be optimistic but at this point, ISIS’ defeat in Mosul is all but certain. The real question now is what will happen after the city is retaken. The operation to liberate Mosul is led by the newly trained and reinforced Iraqi Security Forces, particularly the elite Counterterrorism Services that have formed the vanguard of the assault.

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