Iraq will be free of Daesh in 2016: Iraqi PM
Iraqi security forces place the Iraqi flag above the Islamic State group flag as they pose for a picture on December 28, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to rid the entire country of Daesh in 2016, shortly after government forces liberated the city of Ramadi from the militant group.
“If 2015 was a year of liberation, 2016 will be the year of great victories, terminating the presence of Daesh in Iraq and Mesopotamia," he said during a televised address in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Monday.
The prime minister went on to congratulate Iraqi forces for their recapturing of the Anbar provincial capital that had fallen into the group's hands in May.
Without giving specifics, Abadi added, “We are coming to liberate Mosul, which will be the fatal blow to Daesh."
Following the announcement of the city’s libration, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, stated that the military will use the liberation of Ramadi as a “launch pad” for the northern city of Mosul which was overran by militant forces in June 2014.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond congratulated the government in Baghdad after Iraq’s flag was once again raised over Ramadi.
"This is the latest in a series of significant losses for Daesh. These barbaric terrorists have lost 30 percent of the territory they once held in Iraq," Hammond said in a statement.
French President Francois Hollande also congratulated Iraq during a phone conversation with Abadi.
“He congratulated him on the liberation of the city of Ramadi by Iraqi forces, which is the most important victory since the beginning of the fight against the Daesh terrorist organization," said a statement released by France’s presidential office.
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