Iraq to declare final victory over Daesh after desert campaign

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said on Tuesday the Daesh extremist group had been defeated from a military perspective but he would only declare final victory after Daesh militants were routed in the desert.
Iraqi forces on Friday captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under Daesh control, signalling the collapse of the group’s “caliphate” proclaimed after it overran much of Iraq’s north and west in 2014.
Securing desert and border areas is what remains in the campaign against Daesh, military commanders say.
“From a military perspective, we have ended the presence of Daesh in Iraq,” Abadi said while addressing a weekly news conference.
“God willing we will announce very soon after the end of the purification operations victory over Daesh in Iraq.”
Abadi’s comments came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the end of Daesh while a senior Iranian military commander thanked the “thousands of martyrs” killed in operations organised by Iran to defeat the militant group in Syria and Iraq.
Political disagreements will pave the way for the Sunni militant group to carry out attacks, however, Abadi said. He was referring to the central Baghdad government’s dispute with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government over the latter’s declaration of independence following a September 25 referendum.
“Any disagreement between political factions will encourage Daesh to carry out terrorist attacks,” he said. “I call on our Kurdish brothers to avoid fighting.”

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