Iraqi forces retake control of Ramadi city from Daesh

29th Dec 2015
Iraqi forces retake control of Ramadi city from Daesh

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi armed forces have retaken Ramadi city from Daesh, the Iraqi military announced Monday.

Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, fell into Daesh’s hands last May.

In a televised statement, Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said: “Ramadi has been liberated [from Daesh] and counterterrorism troops have raised the Iraqi flag on the government complex in Anbar.”

Iraqi security forces were reportedly combing Ramadi for mines and booby traps.

Reports of Iraqi forces backed by coalition forces making gains in Ramadi had been making the rounds since last week.

On Sunday, Mohammed al-Bidhani, a spokesman for War Media Network affiliated with the Iraqi Defense Ministry, said that Daesh militants had fled government buildings.

Also on Sunday, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced the killing of Abu Ahmed al-Alwani, an alleged chief of Daesh’s so called military council, in a military operation in Anbar.

The Iraqi military, alongside Sunni tribal fighters and backed by a U.S.-led international air coalition, began to enter Ramadi early last week.

On Dec. 22, U.S.-led coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren noted that there was no Shia militia taking part in the offensive on Ramadi. Warren back then said that once the city is taken back, security will be assured by Sunni tribal fighters as well as the Anbar police — the local force that has been trained by Italian Carabinieri coalition partners.

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry released a written statement Monday commending Iraqi forces for “displaying tremendous perseverance and courage” in the fight to retake Ramadi.

“The United States and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL [Daesh] have proudly supported this effort with training, advice, and equipment, as well as precision airstrikes,” he said. “We will continue to support Iraq and its security forces as they complete their work in Ramadi and move to liberate the entire country from ISIL terrorists.”

President Barack Obama – who is currently in Hawaii for the Christmas holidays – was also briefed Monday on the progress made in Ramadi, a White House statement said.

“The continued progress of the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight to retake Ramadi is a testament to their courage and determination, and our shared commitment to push ISIL out of its safe-havens,” said the statement.

The White House added that the U.S.-led coalition had supported the Ramadi operation with more than 630 airstrikes and training and equipment.

Later on Monday, the Pentagon congratulated the Iraqi security forces for the operational achievement, saying that the recent Daesh losses, both in Iraq and Syria, demonstrated that the enemy was “losing momentum”.

In June last year, Daesh overran Mosul — the country’s second largest city — before moving on to capture additional territory in both Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi government forces, along with pro-government militias and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, are currently seeking to retake Daesh-held areas with air support from the U.S.-led coalition.

Over the last year, the coalition has carried out numerous airstrikes against Daesh targets in both Iraq and Syria, forcing the militant group to withdraw from a number of areas it had previously captured.

Daesh remains, however, in firm control of Mosul.

Author: Esra Kaymak, Mahmoud Barakat
[Photo: Members of the Iraqi security forces celebrate after retaking Ramadi city from Daesh, in Ramadi, Iraq on December 28, 2015. Photographer: Ali Mohammed/AA]

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