US Applauds Iraq After ISIS Declared ‘Defeated’

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The U.S. counter-Islamic State coalition congratulated the Iraqi government security forces for their Saturday declaration that the terrorist group was officially defeated within the country.

“Our forces fully control the Iraqi-Syrian border, and thus we can announce the end of the war against Daesh,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said in a Saturday speech, adding “our battle was with the enemy that wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won with our unity and determination.”

The declaration marks the end of nearly three continuous years of battle against ISIS, which stormed into Mosul in 2014 shocking the world. U.S. troops are unlikely to leave anytime in the near future, however, as long as the terror group continues to operate in some limited capacity in Syria and sectarian tensions remain in Iraq.

“The Coalition congratulates the Government of Iraq on its announcement of the liberation of Iraq from Daesh,” Operation Inherent Resolve commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk said in a Sunday statement. He cautioned that “much work remains, and we will continue to work by, with and through our Iraqi partners to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh and prevent its ability to threaten civilization, regionally and globally.”

U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert released a similar statement Saturday saying the “United States applauds the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi, and we offer our sincere congratulations to the Iraqi people and to the brave Iraqi Security Forces, many of whom lost their lives heroically fighting ISIS.”

Nauert’s statement similarly cautioned that “the United States joins the Government of Iraq in stressing that Iraq’s liberation does not mean the fight against terrorism, and even against ISIS, in Iraq is over.  The United States, along with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, will continue to partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, advising, training, and equipping them.”

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