The Iraqi Joint Operations leadership announced the liberation of the city of Ramadi that was occupied by ISIS. A triumphant Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that in the coming year his forces would defeat Isis, after its first major victory since collapsing in the face of the fighters 18 months ago. “2016 will be the year of the big and final victory, when ISIS’s presence in Iraq will be terminated,” Abadi said in a speech broadcast on state television. He also called people for uniting against extremism as it is the basis of terrorism.
Iraq’s counter-terrorism forces raised the Iraqi flag above the central government complex in the western city, a day after the army declared victory over Isis fighters there.
Thousands of displaced citizens from Anbar went to celebrate in parades in Baghdad, as well as cities in Kurdistan region, and other Iraqi provinces to express their joy over the liberation of Ramadi city and expressed hope to one day return to their houses.
The Governor of al-Anbar city, Saheeb al-Rawi confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the compound has been liberated and that engineering teams were still working to clear explosives planted in the area, but the complex was entirely under the control of Iraqi forces as ISIS militants flee away.
According to AFP, Iraqi officials have estimated the number of ISIS militants in Ramadi city to be 440. It added that the number of killed or withdrawn members was not determined yet.
Moreover, in northern Iraq, the camp of the Popular Mobilization Forces was attacked by ISIS militants who bombed it and caused the death of one PMF fighter and wounded four Turkish trainers in Ba’Shiqah. Lieutenant Amer Hazim Jirjis, official spokesman for the PMF said that ISIS threw 33 rockets on the camp, which led to deaths and injuries of the fighters and the trainers.