‘The Year That Was’ is the cover story from the Qatar Today December 2017 – January 2018 issue, covering all the major events that happened globally in the past year. It will be published online in a series of four parts. ‘End Of Daesh In Iraq’ is part four of the ‘The Year That Was’ story.
Part one: Timeline of the Blockade on Qatar
Part two: World News
Part three: Terror Attacks
The month witnessed several incidents of bombings in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul and Samarra. The attacks were mainly in the form of car bombs, which left hundreds of people, both adults and children, dead. On January 24, Mosul, which had been under the control of Daesh since 2014, experienced some relief as the eastern part of the city was liberated from Daesh’s control.
There were several more deaths of civilians by bombings and executions as the Iraqis tried to free themselves from Daesh’s control. On February 19, Iraqi Prime Minister Al Abadi announced the start of an operation for the ouster of Daesh from western Mosul. Shifa Gardi, a prominent Iraqi journalist, and her cameraman were among the civilians killed in one of the bombings.
Several more bombings took place throughout the month, the most notable one being the American-led bombing of the Al Aghawat Al Jadidah neighbourhood in western Mosul on March 17, which targeted Daesh but also resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Following the attack, the Iraqi army stopped advancing in western Mosul temporarily.
On the night of April 4, the city of Takrit suffered an attack by Daesh militants. The perpetrators disguised themselves by wearing military uniforms and attacked security checkpoints and houses in the Zuhour neighbourhood. The weapons used were explosive belts, which caused 35 deaths and over 40 injuries.
Many deaths and injuries were caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), which were used in many of the attacks. On May 30, a car bomb exploded outside an ice cream parlour in the Karrada neighbourhood of Baghdad, causing over 30 deaths and many injuries. Daesh, who were targeting Shia Muslims, claimed responsibility for the attack.
This month saw many bombings and executions by Daesh, which resulted in the deaths and injuries of many civilians and servicemen. On June 30, 10 Iraqi soldiers were killed in an attack by Daesh near the Syrian border.
The month saw the Iraqi army declare victory over Daesh in the Battle of Mosul on July 10. This was a battle that was being fought since October 2016 between the Iraqi troops and Daesh for control over the city of Mosul. The Iraqi forces tasted their first victory in January when eastern Mosul was liberated from Daesh.
On August 20, Prime Minister Al Abadi announced the Battle of Tal Afar to rid the city of Daesh. Iraqi forces went into battle on August 22 and by August 25 they managed to secure 90% of Tal Afar, killing more than 300 Daesh militants along the way. The battle went on till August 31, and ended in victory for the Iraqi army.
On September 14, Daesh militants carried out several attacks on the outskirts of Nasiriyah. The attacks were a payback for all the losses they had suffered in their previous encounters with Iraqi forces. The attackers used hand guns, grenades and suicide vests, among other weapons, to kill and injure civilians. The attack resulted in over 88 deaths, including the attackers, and 93 injuries. During this period, the Iraqi forces had also made several offensive attacks to reclaim the areas of Al Anbar and Hawija from Daesh.
On October 8, Iraqi forces claimed victory in the Hawija offensive against Daesh. Following this, on October 16, the Iraqi forces battled with Peshmerga, the military forces of Kurdistan, to retake the city of Kirkuk from Kurdish control. On October 20, the Battle of Kirkuk ended with victory for the Iraqi forces. On October 26, the Iraqi army started its military operation to expel the remaining presence of Daesh from Iraq.
Iraqi forces tried to take control of Al Qaim and Rawa, which were still under the control of Daesh. On November 11, mass graves containing more than 400 bodies of people killed by Daesh were found in Hawija.
On December 9, Prime Minister Al Abadi declared that the war with Daesh was over. According to the Parliament’s Security and Defence committee, approximately 20,000 supporters of Daesh still remain within the country, hiding carefully among groups of people displaced in the desert.