Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declared 2016 will see the total defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq.
He was speaking on Monday December 28, on state TV, praising the capture of the western city of Ramadi.
His declaration came after the Iraqi army on Sunday December 27, announced it had seized the center of Ramadi, scoring its first major victory against the militant group that swept through a third of Iraq in 2014.
We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh.
“2016 will be the year of the big and final victory, when Daesh’s presence in Iraq will be terminated,” al-Abadi said, using a derogatory Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
“We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh,” he added, referring to the largest city under Islamic State control in northern Iraq.
We will work to ensure that 2016 will be the year of final victory and will mark the end of Daesh presence in Iraq— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) December 28, 2015
In a statement, a spokesman for the US-led coalition backing Iraqi forces, Colonel Steve Warren, said the coalition had provided more than 630 airstrikes in the area over the past six months as well as training, advice and equipment to the army.
“The clearance of the government centre is a significant accomplishment and is the result of many months of hard work,” he added.
Abadi took office in September 2014 after the Islamic State advanced, pledging to reconcile Iraq’s warring sectarian communities.
While he initially swung behind Shi’ite militias to help halt Islamic State’s onslaught, he has since tried to implement reforms to reduce the power of sectarian parties, angering many political leaders.
We say with complete confidence we are coming to liberate Mosul, with the unity and resolve of this great nation and its brave sons— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) December 28, 2015