Defense

WIPED OUT: Iraq Declares Victory Against Islamic State

SULEIMAN AL-ANBARI/AFP/Getty Images

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

Iraqi officials announced Saturday that the war against the Islamic State has ended after three years of brutal fighting to regain control of territory seized by the terror caliphate.

During remarks at a conference in Baghdad, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraqi forces were in full control of the country’s border with Syria. The development marks the “end of the war” against ISIS in Iraq, Abadi said.

A senior Iraqi military commander then confirmed that major combat operations were over, reports the Associated Press.

“All Iraqi lands are liberated from terrorist Daesh gangs and our forces completely control the international Iraqi-Syrian border,” Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah said in a statement, using to the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

ISIS first seized vast swaths of northern and western Iraq in 2014, capturing both sparsely populated territory and major urban areas including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. After two years of setbacks, U.S-backed coalition forces began to swiftly take back much of the ISIS-held territory, culminating with the liberation of Mosul in July this year.

Subsequent assaults on ISIS positions had reduced the group’s presence in Iraq to small patches in rural areas. In November, Iraqi forces captured the western Iraqi hamlet of Rawa, the last ISIS-held town in the country.

The U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition Operation Inherent Resolve announced the defeat of ISIS in “designated areas,” which now sets the conditions for stabilization operations.

Iraq now moves on to the difficult task of reconstruction in areas devastated by fighting. Around 3 million Iraqis remain displaced from their homes, according to the AP.

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