Iraq declares Ramadi liberated from DAESH

After clinching landmark victory Iraq declares Ramadi liberated from DAESH terrorists, raises Iraqi national flag in city

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A member from the Iraqi security forces holds an Iraqi flag in the city of Ramadi on December 27, 2015

Iraq declared the city of Ramadi liberated from the DAESH terrorist group on Monday and raised the Iraqi national flag over its government compound after clinching a landmark victory against the group.

"Ramadi has been liberated and the armed forces of the counter-terrorism service have raised the Iraqi flag above the government complex," Brigadier General Yahya Rasool announced on state television.

Iraqi forces danced in the Anbar provincial capital as top commanders marched through the streets after retaking the city they lost to DAESH in May.

The army said that few pockets of terrorists might remain but it no longer faced any resistance and they would just sweep the countless bombs and traps DAESH left behind.

A senior commander said that his forces were still sweeping the outskirts of the city for potential pockets of terrorists.

The former government headquarters was the focal point of the fighting in Ramadi but the Iraqi forces did not rush in when DAESH withdrew because the entire area was rigged with bombs and traps.

Iraqi security forces chant slogans in the city of Ramadi on December 27, 2015 (Reuters)

"Daesh [DAESH] has planted more than 300 explosive devices on the roads and in the buildings of the government complex," said Brigadier General Majid al Fatlawi of the army's 8th division.

Some local officials claimed that DAESH used civilians as human shields to flee the fighting when it became obvious that their last stand in Ramadi fell.

DAESH used about 400 terrorists to defend central Ramadi last week but it is not clear how many were killed and how many could pull back to positions outside the city.

The Iraqi officials did not unveil any casualty figures for the government forces but medics reported that almost 100 injured government forces were taken to Baghdad hospitals on Sunday alone.

"The dead bodies are taken directly to the main military hospital" near the airport, said one hospital source without giving a death toll.

Members of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service stand on December 27, 2015 in the Hoz neighbourhood in central Ramadi during military operations conducted by Iraqi pro-government forces against the DAESH terrorist group (AFP)

The US-led anti-DAESH coalition congratulated the victory of the government forces in recapturing Ramadi, an operation in which it played a major role, training local forces, supplying arms for them and carrying out what it reported were 600 air strikes since July.

Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al Juburi also congratulated the security forces on their victory late Sunday.

"This great victory has broken the back of DAESH and represents a launchpad for the liberation of Nineveh," Juburi said in a statement.

State media showed the footage late Sunday that Iraqis took the streets of Baghdad, Karbala and other cities and they were celebrating the victory in Ramadi.

TRTWorld and agencies