Iraqi troops had slowly pushed through the narrow alleys of the Old City during the past week, punching holes through walls and demolishing houses to carve supply routes and fighting positions in a district where many of the buildings date back centuries.
Iraqi PM and commander of the armed forces, Haider al-Abadi, declares that Mosul city is completely liberated from ISIS.
"They made no real effort to properly bury the bodies", said Belkis Wille, a senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, who visited the site in November. "No: defeat is losing the will and the desire to fight", he said.
The actions that took place during ISIS's takeover of Mosul amounted to war crimes, Amnesty argues.
Since its inception, ISIS has prepared for the 'day after' the caliphate.
There is no one universal reason that a terrorist group might take hostages, or who those victims might be.
The infrastructure in western Mosul, where the fighting was fiercest, has been decimated.
In addition, too much emphasis on hostage-taking and ransom could dilute the ideological message of a group, and turn the focus to money instead. "What people have experienced is nearly unimaginable".
As ISIS' fortunes decline, some militants may try to switch allegiance to other groups.
"The Islamic State has been doing this for a couple years now and the numbers keep getting bigger", Miller said.
A commission established to discuss these issues has never met, the source said, nor is there an agreement on any form of power sharing among the many groups in Nineveh province. ISIS traces its origins to an al Qaeda franchise in Iraq (AQI). They are engaging more with tribal leaders to make sure they have the local buy-in to make sure a new incarnation of ISIS does not find a space in Mosul again.
"Forget Kurdistan", said Masrour Barzani, chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council and the area's top intelligence official.
He says no injuries have been reported.
Launched in October, the massive operation comprised more than 70,000 Iraqi troops drawn from the country's army, special forces, police, tribal fighters and mostly Shiite paramilitary forces. "It was built on the wrong foundations".
In Southern California, at least 3,500 people remain evacuated as two fires raged at separate ends of Santa Barbara County. "There are periods in which it is a good time to recruit".
Some ISIS fighters now in Syria and Iraq may try to join the Sinai affiliate or travel to Afghanistan, much as al Qaeda fighters moved to Iraq and Yemen after 9/11. They will try to use migrant routes and often will travel alone.
Firefighters are battling blazes across the U.S. West and in Canada. As did the truck attack in Nice last year, and smaller ISIS-inspired attacks across Europe.
Abadi said "the victory is guaranteed" and the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) militant group were "besieged in the last inches".
Most pressing is the need to bring back hundreds of thousands of displaced Sunni civilians. He continued: "We are not the reason Iraq is falling apart".
But whether ISIS, or something similar born from its ashes, survives in its heartland will depend on developments beyond its control.
This photo provided by KEYT-TV shows a warped satellite dish in the ruins of a structure at Camp Whittier east of Cachuma Lake after a wildfire in Santa Barbara County, Calif., Sunday, July 9, 2017.
ISIS has shown great skill in exploiting sectarian tensions and terrorizing communities into submission.
Reports of civilian casualties spiked as Iraqi forces punched into Mosul's western half in February.
"Mosul liberated from Daesh", he tweeted, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL. In other western neighborhoods, destruction was estimated to be higher: some 70 percent of all houses, buildings and infrastructure. "The numbers have just gotten ridiculous".
Yukon Territory fire spokesman George Maratos says fire crews have shored up protections around the site, including protective burning and clearing brush and debris.
"It [kidnapping] looks very different from case to case", Bloom said.