The Star Early Edition

Iraqi PM raises flag on bor­der area freed from IS

- Military · Terrorism · Drone Strikes · Middle East News · Politics · Middle East Politics · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Baghdad · Syria · ISIS · Iraq · Iraqi Army · Euphrates · Mosul · Haider Al-Abadi · Anbar

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi yesterday raised the Iraqi flag on a bor­der cross­ing with Syria two days af­ter the Iraqi forces re­cap­tured it from Is­lamic State (IS) mil­i­tants.

A state­ment by his of­fice said that Abadi vis­ited the Iraqi forces at the newly-freed city of al-Qaim and the nearby Hu­saibah bor­der cross­ing in Iraq’s west­ern prov­ince of An­bar.

Abadi hailed the Iraqi forces dur­ing the cer­e­mony of rais­ing the Iraqi flag, say­ing “with­out your sac­ri­fices, this achieve­ment would not have been achieved”, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Abadi walked around the streets of al-Qaim and met the cit­i­zens af­ter the lib­er­a­tion of the city and nearby ar­eas, it added.

On Fri­day, Abadi an­nounced the full lib­er­a­tion of al-Qaim from IS and con­grat­u­lated the peo­ple of Iraq on the lat­est ac­com­plish­ment of the se­cu­rity forces.

Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Ab­dul Amir Yar­al­lah, com­man­der of the lib­er­a­tion of West An­bar operations, said the Iraqi army, Counter-Ter­ror­ism Ser­vice forces, para­mil­i­tary brigades of Hashd Shaabi and Sunni tribal fight­ers broke into the city of al-Qaim and lib­er­ated it and the Hu­saibah cross­ing.

On Oc­to­ber 26, the se­cu­rity forces ini­ti­ated their ad­vance to­wards the last ur­ban IS strong­hold in Iraq near the Iraqi-Syr­ian bor­der. The troops also made sig­nif­i­cant progress to­wards the IS-held city of Rawa, 80km east of al-Qaim, and took po­si­tions out­side the city.

Later, they will con­tinue to clear the vast ru­ral ar­eas and desert north of the Euphrates River.

The IS mil­i­tants seized large swaths of ter­ri­tory in Iraq in 2014. Af­ter three years of bat­tles, the Iraqi forces have re­taken most of the oc­cu­pied ar­eas, in­clud­ing the coun­try’s sec­ond largest city Mo­sul. – Xinhua

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