From Palestine Chronicle
Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, has been reduced to rubble. It has been finally conquered, snatched back from the notorious group, Daesh, after months of merciless bombardment by the US-led war coalition, and a massive ground war.
But "victory" can hardly be the term assigned to this moment. Mosul, once Iraq's cultural jewel and model of co-existence, is now a "city of corpses," as described by a foreign journalist who walked through the ruins, while shielding his nose from a foul smell.
"You've probably heard of thousands killed, the civilian suffering," Murad Gazdiev said. "What you likely haven't heard of is the smell. It's nauseating, repulsive, and it's everywhere -- the smell of rotting bodies."
Actually, the "smell of rotting bodies" can be found everywhere that Daesh has been defeated. The group that once declared a Caliphate -- an Islamic state -- in Iraq and Syria in 2014, and was left to freely expand in all directions, is now being hurriedly vanquished.
Such a fact leaves one wondering how a small group, itself a spawn of other equally notorious groups, could have declared, expanded and sustained a "state" for years, in a region rife with foreign armies, militias and the world's most powerful intelligences?
But should not such a question be rendered irrelevant now, considering that Daesh is finally being routed, in most violent and decisive methods?
Well, this is what almost everyone seems to agree on; even political and military rivals are openly united over this very objective.
Aside from the city of Mosul in Iraq, Daesh has also been defeated in its stronghold in the city of Raqqa, in the east of Syria.
Those who astonishingly survived the battles of Mosul and Raqqa are now holed in Deir ez-Zor, which promises to be their last major battle.
In fact, the war on Daesh is already moving to areas outside large population centers where the militant group had sought safe haven. Yet, Daesh militants are being flushed out of these regions as well, for example, in the western Qalamoun region on the Syria-Lebanon border.
Even the open desert is no longer safe. The Badiya Desert, extending from central Syria to the borders of Iraq and Jordan, is now witnessing heavy fighting, centered in the town of Sukhnah.
Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the "Global Coalition to Counter ISIS," recently returned to the US after spending a few days the region. He talked to CBS television network with palpable confidence.
Daesh forces are "fighting for their life, block-by-block," he said, reporting that the militant group had lost roughly 78 percent of areas it formerly controlled in Iraq since its peak in 2014, and about 58 percent of its territories in Syria.
Expectedly, US officials and media are mostly emphasizing military gains they attribute to US-led forces and ignore all others, while Russian-led allies are doing just the opposite.