After 3 long years of war with the Islamic State, Iraq has finally driven its last members out and declared victory. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a public statement in Baghdad that Iraqi troops were now fully in control of the Iraqi-Syrian border.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Reuters</span>
The last few places IS held were at the border after being driven out of the town Rawa in November. The announcement by the Iraqi Prime Minister comes just two days after Russia declared it accomplished its goal of destroying the remaining IS in Syria. The terror group that called itself the Islamic State seized several large chunks of land in Syria and Iraq in 2014 when it declared a "caliphate" and imposed shariah law on its 10 million inhabitants.
The last two years saw IS suffer several major defeats losing Iraq's second city Mosul this July and then Raqqa in Syria this past November. The moment was a proud one for Mr. Abadi as he cemented the victory in place effectively liberating the people of Iraq from the caliphate.
Even if the last of the IS have been driven from Iraq, the lingering effects of the extremist ideology they so strongly clung to may leave some work yet to be done. Mr. Abadi said in a statement Saturday, "Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I, therefore, announce the end of the war against Daesh [IS]."
"Our enemy wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won through our unity and our determination. We have triumphed in little time."
An official statement was also issued by the Iraqi armed forces saying Iraq has now been "totally liberated" from the IS. The head of Russian general staff's operations also issued a statement saying, "The mission to defeat bandit units of the Islamic State terrorist organization on the territory of Syria, carried out by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, has been accomplished."
Russia will now shift its focus toward preserving ceasefires and restoring peace but those who live near the conflict are still afraid the foreign fighters will escape from Syria and continue to carry out acts of terror.
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