Iraq says its war with Islamic State (IS) has ended with the full liberation of all territories previously held by the extremist group.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at a conference in Baghdad on Saturday.
Soon after al-Abadi’s statement, a senior military commander Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah confirmed this.
Breaking the news to Iraqis, al-Abadi said: “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 civilisation, but we have won through our unity and our determination. We have triumphed in little time … This is a victory not only for Iraqis, but for Arabs, Muslims and the world.”
IS overran swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaimed a “caliphate” and imposed its rule over some 10 million people. The major blow for IS came when it lost the Iraqi city of Mosul in July this year and the Syrian city of Raqqa last month.
The collapse of IS has raised fears that its foreign fighters will escape over Syria’s borders to carry out attacks elsewhere. Some IS fighters are reported to have fled to the Syrian countryside while others are believed to have entered Turkey.
Two days back, the Russian military declared it had accomplished its mission of defeating IS in neighbouring Syria. The head of the Russian general staff’s operations, Col-Gen Sergei Rudskoi, said on Thursday that Russia’s military in Syria would now focus on preserving ceasefires and restoring peace.
Iraq faces several challenge as fighting has devastated the country and displaced 3 million people.