Iraq declares victory in battle against ISIL

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Iraq declares victory in battle against ISIL

Iraq has declared victory in its war against ISIL. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said government troops have now recaptured all the territory taken by ISIL in 2014.

He called it “the most difficult mission under the most difficult conditions.”

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

Iraq declared victory Saturday in its war against ISIL, saying that after three years of combat operations it has recovered all the territory once controlled by the extremist group.

The last remaining outpost of ISIL was along the border with Syria, a region retaken by Iraqi forces.

“These victories are not just for the Iraqis alone, though it was the Iraqis who achieved these victories with their sacrifices,” said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. “It’s a victory for all Arabs, Muslims and the world alike.”

At its peak several years ago, ISIL held a third of Iraq’s territory, including Mosul, the country’s second largest city. In 2016, Iraqi forces invaded Mosul to retake the city, leading to a brutal urban war that killed thousands. In July, the Iraqi prime minister announced that ISIL had been defeated in Mosul. And just months later, ISIL lost its other major city, Raqqa, in Syria.

The group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remains on the run. While ISIL no longer holds territory, the group is still capable of launching terrorist attacks, including on civilian targets.

Analysts worry that ISIL’s military defeat, while welcome, hasn’t resolved ongoing problems between Iraqi’s Shia and Sunni communities.