Iraq anti-terror campaign to end within months: Minister
Iraq’s Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi says anti-terrorism military operations in the violence-hit country could end within months.
He made the comments on Sunday after attending a military parade, which was held by the Iraqi air defense force.
Referring to the recent achievements of the Iraqi troops against the ISIL terror group, Obeidi noted that the government forces have succeeded in freeing the eastern province of Diyala from the grip of the extremist militants.
The military now aims to retake the country’s second largest city of Mosul that fell into the hands of the militants in June 2014 when the ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq.
The heavily-armed terrorists took control of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland.
Obeidi added that the beginning of the offensive for recapturing the city would lead to the final phase of military operations and the end of the battle against Takfiri groups in Iraq.
The so-called US-led coalition against the ISIL had previously said the fight to completely expel the militants from Iraq would last at least two years. However, the Iraqi defense minister noted that the time frame might refer to the battle against Takfiri terrorists around the globe.
“I think the two-year-period that the US government has mentioned refers to the time to defeat extremist groups across the world because extremist groups exist not only in Iraq, but also in other areas in the world. For Iraq, the last day for extremist groups is not far off. It might arrive within a few months. We don’t need to wait until next year,” said Obeidi.
He also called on all armed forces in Iraq, including Kurdish fighters and tribal forces, to unite in the military operations against the ISIL extremists.
The ISIL terrorists, many of whom foreign nationals, have taken control of some parts of Iraq’s northern and western regions. The Takfiris have been committing heinous crimes in the captured areas, including mass executions and beheadings.