BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister declared an end Saturday to the war against the Islamic State, more than three years after militants overran and captured one-third of the country, and imposed a violent and austere rule over millions of Iraqis.
Haider al-Abadi announced that the rugged, sparsely populated desert region bordering Syria has been “cleansed” of Islamic State fighters and that the porous border that had underpinned the self-declared caliphate that straddled both countries has been fully secured.
“This victory was achieved . . . when Iraqis united to face a heinous enemy that didn’t want us to see this day,” Abadi said. “They wanted to return us back to the Dark Ages.”
Saturday’s declaration caps a war that has killed thousands of Iraqi troops in fierce battles for such cities as Tikrit, Ramadi and Baiji since 2015. But after losing the grueling nine-month battle for Mosul in July, the Islamic State began to quickly collapse — ceding its grip on smaller cities and towns in days rather than months.Read More...
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