Iraqi PM to declare IS defeat after clearing Iraq’s desert

Baghdad: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to declare the final defeat of Islamic State (IS) after the country’s security forces eliminate the extremist militants from the desert, a media report said.

“Daesh (IS group) has been completely eradicated from the military perspective, but during the next short stage the final clearing of Daesh will take place in the desert of western Anbar province,” Xinhua news agency quoted Abadi as saying in a televised press conference on Tuesday after his weekly Cabinet meeting.

“After the completion of the clearing, a final defeat will be declared in Iraq.”

The border city of Rawa, the last urban IS stronghold in Iraq, was freed on Friday indicating the collapse of the group’s self-styled caliphate which the group announced after they seized large areas in northern and western Iraq in June 2014.

After the liberation of Rawa, Abadi congratulated the people of Iraq and the security forces on the liberation of the remaining city under IS control, attributing the IS defeat to “the great strength and power of heroic armed forces and the successful planning for battles”.

On November 5, Abadi raised the Iraqi flag on Husaibah border crossing with Syria two days after the recaptured it and the nearby city of al-Qaim from the extremist militants.

On October 26, security forces started a major offensive to free last IS urban stronghold in Iraq near the Iraqi-Syrian border, in addition to clearing the villages in the vast rural areas in the north of the Euphrates River as well as the desert between the provinces of Anbar and neighbouring Salahudin.