Iraqi government forces are claiming total success with the retaking of the city of Ramadi from ISIL fighters.
The city had been in the hands of the Islamic extremists since the month of May. Its loss is the groups’ first major defeat, and the first success for the US-trained Iraqi army, which for this assault did not use the Shi’Ite militias which have been having the most success against ISIL, to avoid antagonising local Sunnis.
“If 2015 was the year of liberation, 2016, God willing, will be the year of the great victory and the year of the final victory and the end of the presence of Daesh on Iraqi soil and their final great defeat,” said Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Pockets of resistance remain and it is not clear how many of the estimated hundreds of
ISIL fighters have been killed or escaped.
Next on the Iraqi army’s list is the city of Mosul, ISIl’s biggest prize in Iraq, and for which it is likely to fight tooth and nail.