Isis will be defeated in Iraq 'within weeks', says country's Prime Minister

Haider al-Abadi says victory in his country is 'within reach' 

Benjamin Kentish
Monday 27 March 2017 12:51
Iraqi PM says Isis will be defeated 'within the next few weeks'

Isis will be defeated in Iraq “within weeks”, according to the country's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.

Insisting they would “definitely” be driven from the country, Mr Abadi made the comments as his country's armed forces continue their campaign to retake the northern city of Mosul from the terrorist group.

The city is Isis’ last remaining stronghold in the country.

However, Mr Abadi admitted the group, which is also known as Daesh, will continue to maintain strongholds in Syria.

“At the moment we are at a very important juncture where Daesh is on the retreat”, he told Fox News. “We in Iraq have been killing Daesh, removing them from our land. We are killing their aim so that recruits are minimal at the moment.

“In Iraq the defeat is sure, it’s definite. We’ll finish the job in a very short time – it’s within reach…within the next few weeks. We are defeating them militarily…we need the efforts of others to flush them out in Syria and other places.”

The Iraqi army has been engaged in a bloody battle with the jihadist group in Mosul after launching a new offensive on the city late last year.

After months of heavy fighting, around 400,000 civilians are estimated to be trapped in the city, with food, clean water and electricity all in scarce supply.

Isis retains control of around 40 per cent of the western part of Mosul, and the remaining 2,000 or so militants in the city are continuing to fiercely fight to defend their positions.

Mr Abadi said last week’s terrorist attack in Westminster was a result of Isis trying to maintain its reputation as it faces defeat in Iraq.

Five people were killed when Khalid Masood drove a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a policeman in Parliament.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack but experts said the group frequently claims to have been behind incidents in which it actually had little involvement.

Syrian refugee recalls ISIS horrors

“They are trying to attract more recruits by doing these criminal acts”, Mr Abadi said. “It’s like somebody who is dying and is just trying to flex his muscle at the last moment. The only way forward is to kill their home - just to finish them. Then they will not have any hope to commit such criminal acts.”

Mr Abadi also suggested Donald Trump is more determined than Barack Obama to defeat Isis.

“President Obama didn’t want to get involved in the first place”, he said. “He just wanted to just forget Iraq.”

“Coming back to Iraq was sort of imposed on him because of Daesh and what they had done by crossing the Syrian-Iraqi border, occupying about 40 per cent of Iraqi land and slaughtering people. So there was a lot of pressure on President Obama to come to the help of Iraq.

In contrast, he said Mr Trump's Administration understood “that Iraq is an ally and we should keep on working with Iraq to support Iraq to stand against terrorism”.

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