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Iraqi forces recapture Rawa from Daesh
November 19, 2017
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BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces on Friday captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under Daesh control, signalling the collapse of the group’s self-proclaimed territory.

Rawa’s capture marks the end of Daesh’s era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi forces “liberated Rawa entirely, and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings,” Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah said in a statement from the Joint Operations Command.

Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi congratulated Iraq’s armed forces and people, saying Rawa was retaken in record time and that Iraq would soon completely defeat Daesh.

“I congratulate our heroic forces and the Iraqi people on the liberation of Rawa. The success of our forces, in record time and with excellent planning, shows their strength. Our armed forces continue to secure the Jazira and desert area and the Iraqi border. Total victory is near,” he said.

Iraqi forces will now focus on routing the militants who fled into the desert and exert control over Iraq’s borders, the spokesman said.

A map published by the military showed zero areas under Daesh control and a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting the group in both Iraq and Syria said on Twitter it had “crumbled.”

A video issued by the military showed Iraqi forces sending a message to Rawa’s residents via radio which said: “Daesh has ended for good, and now the age of Iraq begins.”

Another showed a convoy of military vehicles sporting Iraqi flags and blasting out the national anthem. State television played patriotic songs and aired footage of troops in Rawa. “With the liberation of Rawa we can say all the areas in which Daesh is present have been liberated,” a military spokesman said.

However, Daesh’s defeat does not mean civilians are now safe, the International Rescue Committee said.

Nearly 3.2 million people are unable or unwilling to return home after years of displacement and over 11 million are in need of vital humanitarian assistance, it said.

“Today marks a historic day for the people of Iraq. It is, however, vital that the international community does not view the end of territorial control as the end of their responsibility to the Iraqi people who have endured years of conflict and face a long, difficult recovery,” the group’s Iraq Country Director Wendy Taeuber said in a statement.

Reuters
 

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