VIDEO: Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi Says “ISIS Is Collapsing”
Iraqi security forces have been fighting Daesh since 2014, when the terrorist group launched a large-scale offensive and overran chunks of territory in Iraq. Security operations by the Iraqi military and volunteer forces have since then led to the recapture of many of the areas that Daesh had seized, including rural areas as well as major towns and cities.
“We have seen the whole organization collapsing in terms of standing in the face of our own armed forces,” al-Abadi said in an interview with the Associated Press. “The success of liberating a huge area indicates that ISIS does not have the gut now or the motivation to fight as they were doing before.”
The Iraqi forces are currently involved in a crucial operation to retake the only urban area under Daesh control, namely the city of Mosul, which the terrorist group has declared its so-called headquarters in Iraq.
In the interview, Abadi said Mosul is of utmost importance.
Referring to ISIS, he said, “This is like a snake, if you hit it in the middle or the tail, it’s no use. I have to hit it on the head. And the head of this terrorist organization is Mosul. If I remove Mosul from them, this is a huge blow… to its efforts to recruit young people from different countries of the world.”
The Iraqi prime minister said that the operation to retake Mosul is a “difficult” one even as he said it has been going on more quickly than expected.
“This is the first time where we are liberating a city or a place where civilians are staying at home,” he said. “It’s tough, it’s difficult because the security forces tell me they are being fired at from places where there are civilians and they cannot reply in kind. So, this is a very tough thing.”
Iraqi forces have besieged Mosul, which is located some 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad, and are gradually advancing into it. They launched the operation on October 17.
The Iraqi prime minister said the decision to call on Mosul’s residents to stay in the city during the operation was meant to avoid a humanitarian disaster as an influx of displaced people could have arrived at camps outside of the city at freezing temperatures during the winter had they been urged to leave their homes.
Abadi had previously vowed that Mosul would be fully recaptured by year-end. In the interview, he stuck to that timeline.