After a courageous three year campaign of intense fighting, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the liberation of all Iraqi territory from ISIS control. The United States applauds the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi, said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, "and we offer our sincere congratulations to the Iraqi people and to the brave Iraqi Security Forces, many of whom lost their lives heroically fighting ISIS."
The Iraqi announcement signals the last remnants of ISIS's self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq and the people living in those areas have been freed from ISIS's brutal control.
The liberation of Iraq, warned Ms. Nauert, "does not mean the fight against terrorism, and even against ISIS, in Iraq is over. The United States, along with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, will continue to partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, advising, training, and equipping them. Together" she stressed, "we must be vigilant in countering all extremist ideologies to prevent the return of ISIS or the emergence of threats by other terrorist groups."
Throughout its occupation in areas of Iraq, ISIS showed its barbaric nature: beheadings, crucifixions and torture became the norm for innocent civilians trapped in cities and being used as human shields, turning hospitals, mosques, universities, and schools into weapons-making and storage facilities and bases for its terrorist operations.
Beyond human casualties, ISIS left a trail of destruction, with an unprecedented number of Iraqis displaced from their homes and massive damage to infrastructure. The United States has contributed more than 1.7 billion dollars in humanitarian assistance and committed more than 265 million dollars in stabilization assistance to Iraq since 2014. The United States has also contributed 112 million dollars to assist in clearing improvised explosive devices, mines, and unexploded ordinance, as well as outreach programs to warn Iraqis on the dangers of explosive hazards that ISIS left behind. These efforts have helped facilitate the safe and voluntary return of nearly 2.8 million Iraqis to their homes.
"We remain committed," said spokesperson Nauert, "to standing with the government of Iraq and the Iraqi people to," to help them reclaim their land and lives from ISIS.