Iraqi forces are claiming victory in the battle for Mosul today, after capturing what’s left of the al-Nuri mosque. Taking back the iconic site where ISIS declared its caliphate three years ago is a major symbolic victory, especially after more than eight months of fighting.
But hang on.
This is NOT the end of ISIS in Iraq. It’s not the end of ISIS in Mosul. And it’s nowhere near the end of this crisis for thousands of innocent families.
1. ISIS still holds territory in west Mosul.
Up to 300 ISIS fighters are still in control of part of the Old City, and they are using increasingly brutal and desperate tactics to hold onto their territory. They’re also still launching attacks on other areas of Mosul. In the past 24 hours, a number of suicide bombers have been intercepted trying to cross from west Mosul to east Mosul, an area that was liberated from ISIS control six months ago.
Here’s the latest map showing who controls what in west Mosul…
— مركز نينوى الاعلامي (@NinevehMC) June 29, 2017
2. 50,000+ people are still trapped by ISIS in Mosul.
The Old City is the most densely populated part of Mosul. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children are still living under ISIS control. Many have been eating grass or cardboard to survive. ISIS is even using starvation as a weapon against people in the Old City.
Hundreds of families have managed to escape in recent days—many of them are injured, starving, and dehydrated. Our ambulances are rushing people from the Old City to one of our nearby medical clinics for triage care.
Today’s declaration of victory means little for those still under ISIS rule. Nothing has changed for them yet. They are still suffering, still hoping and praying for liberation, still wondering what they will find on the other side.
3. ISIS still holds territory in other parts of Iraq, too.
Hawija, Al-Qa’im, Tal Afar. These are places you’ve probably never heard of. They don’t make the news the way Mosul does. But they’re all Iraqi cities, and they’re all under ISIS control.
Hawija has been a staging point for attacks on nearby cities like Kirkuk, which has a large Christian population. Some ISIS leaders are thought to be holed up in Al-Qa’im, though this is unconfirmed. And Tal Afar is where some of the fiercest ISIS fighters came from.
The caliphate may be crumbling, but it isn’t finished. Thousands of people in Syria and Iraq still live under the shadow of ISIS. This is what matters—far more than how much territory ISIS controls or when “victory” is declared.
4. We’ll keep showing up—now and long after the battle really ends.
We’re rushing food, water, and urgent medical care to the frontlines. As the last ISIS-held neighborhoods fall, we’ll be there with life-saving aid for those trapped inside.
And we’ll stay—long after the media loses interest, long after Mosul fades from public attention, long after the battle stops trending on Twitter. Because the wounds of war aren’t mended in a moment. Mosul families need someone who will stand with them in the weeks and months and years ahead—as they rebuild, as they restart their lives, as they open new businesses and find new ways to feed their families, as they get their kids back to school. As they unmake the violence of the past three years.
They need you to stand with them.
They need food, water, and medical care now—and they need jobs, income, and hope for the future. The best way to provide both is by becoming a monthly sponsor.
When Mosul is rebuilt, when Mosul is made great again, when children play in safety, when businesses thrive, and when moms and dads can provide for their families again—THAT’S when we’ll declare victory in Mosul.
Help bring that day about for the people of Mosul.
Stand with the people of Mosul today and for many, many tomorrows.