Iraq declares war with ISIS is concluded
After re-taking the very last ISIS strongholds from fighters recently, Iraq has announced that the war against the group is concluded. Speaking at a conference in Baghdad, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi stated that the Syria-Iraq border was now completely under the control of the Iraqi Army. This announcement comes only two days after Russia ended its military campaign against ISIS in Syria.
The beginnings of ISIS: A terrorist organization or a state?
In 2014, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the organization a caliphate. ISIS soon started basing its operations out of the territory it captured in Iraq and Syria. The world had seen widely networked global terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, but never one that operated like a state. The ISIS leadership minted coins, traded in oil and issued identity-documents much like a state.
ISIS suffers a series of losses
In July'17, Iraqi forces defeated ISIS in Mosul, its de-facto capital city, after nearly nine months of deadly urban warfare. On November 3, Syrian forces claimed to have "completely liberated" the city of Deir al-Zour. On the same day, Iraq captured Al-Qaim. It also lost Albu Kamal, a crucial border crossing and Rawa which was dubbed as the last ISIS-controlled town.
Iraq makes the defeat of ISIS official
"Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I, therefore, announce the end of the war against Daesh (ISIS)," Abadi stated. "Our enemy wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won through our unity and our determination. We have triumphed in little time," he added. The Iraqi Army also issued a separate statement claiming Iraq had been "totally liberated."
World leaders welcome announcement, advise caution
The US state department welcomed the end of ISIS's "vile occupation" in Iraq. It stressed that Iraq's liberation didn't translate to the end of the fight against terrorism and ISIS. British PM Theresa May congratulated Iraq on the "historic victory" while warning Baghdad of the threat ISIS may still pose from within and across the border.
Does this mark the end of ISIS?
Despite recent setbacks, ISIS continues to prevail in the cyberspace. It continues to pose a threat through supporters across the world who subscribe to its jihadist ideology. A series of ISIS-inspired vehicle and knife-attacks across the west only seem to reinforce this threat. ISIS may resort to guerrilla tactics while its top leadership regroups in preparation for a stronger comeback in Iraq and Syria.