Inside Story

Is it the beginning of the end for ISIL?

The group is being kicked out of Mosul, ending its dream of a caliphate in Iraq.

Less than three years ago, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group seemed poised to carve out its own state with thousands of fighters, including 27,000 foreigners from 86 countries.

But although the group still controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, the battles for two major cities look close to an end and defeats for ISIL.

In one of the final acts of defiance, the group blew up the landmark mosque in Mosul where its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a caliphate in June 2014.

Iraqi forces say it is now just a matter of days before the city falls eight months after they began the operation to retake it.

Where will its fighters go? And will they still pose a threat to the region and beyond?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


Ahmed Rushdi – director of House of Iraqi Expertise Foundation

Judit Neurink – Erbil-based Dutch journalist

Raphael Bosson – research associate with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs