Iraqi forces recapture last district held by DAESH

Iraqi forces retake the last district held by DAESH in Fallujah, the general commanding the operation declares the battle complete.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A military vehicle of Iraqi security forces is seen in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016.

Iraqi forces recaptured the last remaining district held by the DAESH terrorist organisation in the city of Fallujah on Sunday, after almost five weeks of fighting.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claimed victory over DAESH in Fallujah over a week ago, however fighting continued inside the city west of Baghdad, as well as in the Golan district. The US-led coalition supported the offensive by carrying out air strikes against DAESH positions.

"We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter terrorism service and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Fallujah is over," Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, who was in charge of the operation told state TV.

Saidi said that a few DAESH terrorists were still holed out in buildings. He added that at least 1,800 DAESH fighters were killed in the operation to retake Fallujah, and that the rest had fled.

The operation to retake Fallujah was launched by government troops on May 23. Fallujah has long been a stronghold of the Sunni-led rebellion against US forces that overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003, and later against Shi’ite-led governments.

Last week, Abadi had said that Fallujah’s recapture would pave the way for the military to retake Mosul, DAESH’s de facto capital.

Over 85,000 residents were forced to flee to overcrowded government-run camps because of the fight to recapture the Iraqi city. The UN says that it has received reports of allegations of abuse of civilians fleeing the city, including by members of Shi’ite armed groups in support of the offensive.

DAESH captured the city of Fallujah in January 2014. They declared a so-called caliphate over part of Syria and Iraq six months later.