The fight between U.S.-led forces in Mosul against ISIS fighters has been waged since October of last year. It was reported earlier in the year that the extremist group had finally been pinned down in what many at the time believed would have been the final push to take back the city. The effort to regain control of Mosul would certainly have held symbolic meaning during Ramadan before Eid al-Fitr, a festival that ends fasting on the last day. But the Iraqi government and Muslims, in general, have suffered the loss of one of its most important symbols of its heritage, the destruction of the Grand Nouri mosque.

Destroying symbol of victory

The destruction of the mosque happened as Iraqi forces were within 50 meters of it. They said that the extremists had intentionally detonated bombs within the mosque and in the 800+-year-old minaret next to it. Extremists claimed that it was the U.S.-led forces that targeted the buildings instead but footage shows the force of detonation coming from within. The buildings were destroyed on one of Ramadan's holiest dates which is referred to as the Night of Power when it is said that the Qur'an was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

End of the ISIS 'caliphate'

History says that the mosque was built in the 12th century by a Muslim commander and Saladin's contemporary named Noureddine Al-Zanki.

Al-Zanki's family is said to have ruled over Aleppo and Mosul according to a report by the Guardian. The Al-Zanki family ruled there on behalf of the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. The Mosque was used as the place where the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate in 2014. In that sense, his declaration was also meant to be symbolic due to the site's history.

The fact that ISIS has been cornered in that area for their last stand could also be considered historic. Even Iraqi officials have said that taking the mosque would have signaled the end of al-Baghdadi's caliphate by the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Various reports have begun to say that the terror group is on their last legs as the U.S.-led coalition works to annihilate ISIS, even if it means leaving the city in ruins.

Many of the fighters have already reportedly fled the area for Syria where they are also said to be pinned down in another fight waged on the border with Syria and in the city of Raqqa. The terror group has claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks throughout Europe and in other areas as the fight in Iraq and Syria continue. Iraqi commanders are already suggesting that it will be a few days before they finally take Mosul.