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Iraq vows Mosul liberation by yearend

21 February 2016 20:31



Iraq’s defense minister tells PressTV that the country has undertaken a decisive battle to clear the northern city of Mosul of Daesh presence by the yearend.

“Our forces are deployed in Mosul…. The battle for Mosul is decisive and we will settle it before the end of this year,” Khaled al-Obaidi said of the underway operation in the Nineveh province’s capital, which fell to the Takfiri terrorist group in 2014.

With the end in sight, the government has deployed thousands of additional troops to the Makhmour district, east of Mosul, ahead of a final push to flush the terrorists out of the city.

An Iraqi Army member stands guard at the entrance of the base for liberation operations in the Makhmur district, about 280 kilometers (175 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, on February 11, 2016 (AFP photo). 

Obaidi’s remarks echoed those of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who told a security conference in Germany earlier in the month that his government was determined to bring an end to the group’s existence in the country this year. Daesh has been wreaking death and destruction on Iraq since June 2014.

Speaking to our correspondent in the city of Husaibah al-Sharqiah of neighboring Anbar province, Obaidi said, “We are on high alert and careful to spare the blood of civilians and that of our forces. We will adopt the same strategy in Mosul.”

”They (the forces) are battling terrorists around Ramadi,” he said.

Ramadi, Anbar’s capital, was liberated in December, almost a year after coming under Daesh’s control.

In recent days, Iraqi forces have liberated a number of areas east of Ramadi, where they have begun defusing thousands of bombs planted by the terrorists to hamper their advance in the province.

According to Iraqi officials, up to 80 percent of the newly-liberated areas are now free of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The forces are now focusing on areas north of Ramadi and have told Press TV that their primary challenge is to cleanse all residences of IEDs so they can secure the return of many of the internally displaced people.

Meanwhile, Sunni tribesmen living under Daesh’s rule have revolted in several areas of Anbar, namely Hit, which lies 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Ramadi.

“We receive information about uprising of tribesmen in Hit and other regions of Anbar. Tens of Daesh militants have been killed in confrontations and, to be honest with you, this is a very encouraging factor for all forces, to have such support,” Obaidi said.

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