Iraqi Army Claims Fallujah “Liberated”

 In Foreign

Iraqi Army Claims Fallujah “Liberated”

After two years of ISIS control, the Iraqi government claimed that Fallujah was liberated  on Friday. On Monday, the Counterterrorism Forces were still dealing with “pockets” of ISIS fighters and snipers.

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Iraqis celebrate victory in Fallujah- photo via Iraq’s Press TV

Victory Declared

Iraq’s PM Haider al-Abadi told reporters on Friday that their special forces entered Fallujah and captured government buildings, as well as the central hospital. It was declared that 80% of the city is  once again under Iraqi control.

Iraqi troops pushed deeper into Fallujah on Sunday, clearing ISIS from a large hospital that they had been using as a command center. The troops also worked to clear out a bomb-making factory that extended through tunnels connected to 10 homes in the city.

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The Iraqi flag is raised over the government building in Fallujah -Iraq Counterterrorism Service photo

Not quite cleared yet

The WSJ reported,

The perils of clearing pockets of militant resistance came into clear view on Saturday. Iraqi counterterrorism forces were showing off a residential neighborhood here that they had just pried away from Islamic State, talking about their victory over militants whom they said had melted away.

As they recounted the Friday battle, they leaned on the gates of crumbling houses in the Nazal neighborhood, confident and relaxed. Then, suddenly, a faint crackle sounded, and one of the young officers winced, groaned and grabbed for his ankle. He had been shot in the leg.

Lines of defense

According to the WSJ, the fight for Fallujah lasted nearly 4 weeks. Most of that time was spent in attempting to breech  ISIS’ lines of defense – suicide car bombers, roads riddled with IEDs, and “skilled” snipers.

Reports of the train station being liberated as well surfaced on June 20. The U.S. provided 17 air strikes for the operation, according to the Marine Corps Times.

The operation was carried out by “the Iraqi army, regional and federal police, and special anti-terrorism units.”

News sources from the area made it a point to say that America was not involved in the battles inside the city. The Popular Mobilization Force,a Shi’a militia  also stayed out of the push into the heart of Fallujah, in the fear of Human Rights Violations between Shia and Sunni.

Catastrophic  human rights situation

In the last four days, approximately 10,000 families fled Fallujah. At a minimum of 14,000 families left before them. Some Human Rights Groups say that the number is upwards of 60,000, which threatens to overwhelm the ability of aid organizations to cope.

With the liberation of the city, many residents may return. The difficulty lies in that the city is mostly Sunni, and the liberating forces are mostly Shi’a. What will the future hold? It remains to be seen.

 

 

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