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End of Islamic State in 2016 – Iraqi PM
December 31, 2015, 8:04 pm

Al-Abadi, seen here during the 94th anniversary of the creation of the Iraqi army, is now determined to liberate Mosul in the north [Xinhua]

Al-Abadi, seen here during the 94th anniversary of the creation of the Iraqi army, is now determined to liberate Mosul in the north [Xinhua]


Fresh off a victory tour in the liberated city of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi has pledged that the army and security forces will eject the Islamic State from Iraq in 2016.

On Monday, Iraqi military forces backed by Sunni tribesmen entered the center of Ramadi and planted the national flag on official buildings there.

Islamic State (or ISIL) fighters had withdrawn to the outskirts of the city, officials said, and the military was in mop-up operations.

Abadi was flown into Ramadi by military helicopter and toured the liberated sections of the city amid a heavy security detail. He was accompanied by senior Sunni tribesmen including the Anbar governor.

While praising the troops, three mortar rounds fell about 500 meters from the prime minister, an indication that the fight ahead would be difficult.

The military said on Thursday that it was still searching homes for booby traps and possible suicide bombers hiding in the outskirts and villages around the city.

The liberation of Ramadi, which took eight months and was preceded by two failed attempts, appears to vindicate the prime minister’s strategy.

In the Ramadi campaign, the military operations were spearheaded by the Iraqi army and Sunni tribesmen in marked contrast to the liberation of Tikrit last year in which Shia militia were used.

The US had pressured Abadi to avoid using Iran-linked Shia militia.

“The expulsion of ISIS by Iraqi security forces, supported by our international coalition, is a significant step forward in the campaign to defeat this barbaric group and restore Iraq’s territorial sovereignty,” US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement on Monday.

Baghdad and Washington are now looking to move against the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and home to more than one million civilians.

US commanders warn that the liberation of Mosul will be much more challenging and that supply lines leading into the city need to be cut off first.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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