Extremists fighters from the al-Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have captured the capital of northern Iraq, Liz Sly and Ahmed Ramadan of The Washington Post report.
American-trained Iraqi forces reportedly fled posts in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and all of the city’s critical facilities — including the government complex and the prisons — are now controlled by the insurgents.
“When the battle got tough in the city of Mosul, the troops dropped their weapons and abandoned their posts, making it an easy prey for the terrorists,” Iraq’s speaker of parliament Osama Nujaifi stated in Baghdad.
Sly emphasised the significance of northern Iraq falling to ISIS.
ISIS has brutally reigned over the population in northern Syria after blurring the border between the.two countries last year.
Nujafi, highlighting Mosul’s significance, asked for international and government help to retake the city.
“Everything is fallen. It’s a crisis,” he said. “Having these terrorist groups control a city in the heart of Iraq threatens not only Iraq but the entire region.”
The Post notes that the rapid fall of Mosul, a key commercial and trading center, “suggests the U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces are even more vulnerable than had previously been thought.”
The U.S. military focused on Mosul during its effort to stabilise Iraq after years of war. ISIS reportedly took the city’s airport, and Iraq’s parliament speaker said that militants obtained helicopters when they took over what was a hub for American troops and advisors.
Here’s a look at what ISIS controlled as of August 2013.
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