In separate messages to President of Iraq Fuad Masum and the country’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali al-Sistani on Friday, the Iranian president hailed recapture of Mosul by the Iraqi military forces.
In the message to his Iraqi counterpart, President Rouhani described the “positive security-creating developments” in Iraq and the victories in the fierce fight against terrorism and extremism as a “result of unwavering efforts by the Iraqi people and military forces” and of the assistance provided by the neighboring countries.
He also expressed confidence that the same status of firm and mighty war against terrorism will restore peace and security to the Middle East and could rid the region’s Muslim people of “the nightmare of war and bloodshed.”
Also in his message to Ayatollah Sistani, the Iranian president said the liberation of Mosul once again reflects the premier position of religious authorities and leadership in Iraq.
“Three years ago, during the days of disappointment and chaos, it was the Hawza (Shiite Muslim seminary) and the Marja’ (religious authorities) that restored the necessary hope and resolve for the battle in the Iraqi society and caused the people and the Army to act against the aggressors,” Rouhani added.
Daesh militants made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing swaths of northern Syria.
Afterwards, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after Ayatollah Sistani issued a fatwa calling for the fight against the militants, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive and forced the terrorist group withdraw from much of the areas it had occupied.
After eight months of difficult urban warfare, Iraqi military forces on Thursday captured the Mosul mosque at the heart of the northern city, which Daesh had declared its de facto capital.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the liberation of the site of the symbolic al-Nuri Mosque in Old Mosul is “the declaration of the end of the statelet of Daesh.”
Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Daesh militants are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.
Daesh stronghold in Syria’s Raqqa is also close to falling.