THE BLOG

After Liberation, The Focus Now Turns To Mosul's Future

24/07/2017 12:16 BST | Updated 24/07/2017 12:16 BST

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For the past three years, Mosul has served as a Daesh stronghold. The terrorist group held territory in the Iraqi city in 2014, and proceeded to destroy its infrastructure, brutalise its residents and erase its cultural heritage.

Yet thanks to the efforts of the Iraqi National Army and coalition forces, the recent weeks have seen the city liberated of Daesh control. However, this has come at a cost. According to UN figures, some 700,000 civilians have been displaced by the conflict. For the residents who so resolutely rejected Daesh's hateful ideology - as well as the international community - the focus now turns to rebuilding.

Speaking to the UN Security Council earlier this month Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, said: 'The historic liberation of Mosul should not conceal the fact that the road ahead is extremely challenging.

'To turn the gains of the military victory into stability, security, justice and development, the Government will have to do everything possible to give the people back their lives in security and dignity,' he added.

At this point, the priority is the return of displaced people and the total elimination of any remaining Daesh cells. It will need a huge effort from the Iraqi government and ample support from the international community. In western Mosul, 15 out of the 54 residential districts described as being 'heavily damaged' by the UN. They estimate the cost of stabilising these areas to be in the region of $700 million.

This is obviously an enormous figure, which is why we're glad to see that aid is already being pledged by foreign governments - including our own. In the past two weeks, the UK government has committed to helping the city by sending lifesaving aid to the people of Mosul.

UK aid will provide clean drinking water, food, tents, cooking equipment, soap, and vaccinations against deadly diseases. The government will also send extra funding to the country, which will help to rebuild the vital infrastructure - water facilities, power networks, clinics, schools - that will allow displaced residents to return to their homes sooner.

In a press release published last week Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, said: 'The UK has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response, and we will continue to stand by the people of Iraq as the painstaking work begins to rebuild homes and infrastructure in Mosul.

'This latest support from Britain...will allow people to rebuild their lives in their home city, and it will support the Government of Iraq's efforts to build a stable, secure and prosperous Iraq.'

The liberation of Mosul is proof of the incredible effort and sacrifice that went into driving out Daesh. Along with this, it has highlighted the bravery and resilience of the residents who, despite hailing from different faiths and backgrounds, all joined together to reject the oppressive doctrine that almost put an end to the city itself.

They are deserving of a return to a normal life. We hope that continued international support will eventually allow them to get there.

Featured image: Workers help to clean up Mosul. Credit: UNDP/ Ahmed Swadi.