DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:30 A.M.) – A few years back, the prospects of the Iraqi nation emerging from the its latest civil strife seemed unimaginable as the Islamic State terror group swept through through most of Anbar, the Tigris basin, and the fertile plains of Diyala a few kilometers from the wounded city of Baghdad.

Over 3 years after the fall of Fallujah, Tikrit, and Mosul, the Iraqi Army achieved the once perceived impossible- ISIS no longer has a territorial grasp over any part of the ancient country.

Rundown of the final operation against ISIS in Badiyat al-Jazira which spans the desert between the eastern bank of the Euphrates to Sinjar’s plains:

-The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) backed by the Iraqi Army and Air Force captured over 6,500 km2 of territory.

-Establishment control over six border points between Iraq and Syria: Khabur, Al-Shbiliya, Umm al-Rous al-Jazira, Zain al Qous, Tousin, and al-Sheham.

-Control of the entire 55-km border strip between Tal Sufok until al-Qaim in west Anbar.

During the offensive, ISIS suffered large losses in manpower, lost numerous headquarters and mobilization points, and many VBEIDs that were seized by the counterterrorism forces. Engineering units are currently working on dismantling all the mines and IEDs left behind by the terrorist group in the 60 villages recently liberated by Iraq.

Against all odds and doubts, the cradle of civilization and the Lady of the Two Rivers has emerged victorious. Though, years of counter-insurgency operations lie ahead until terrorist attacks in Iraq’s major urban centers are history. The arduous task of reconstruction has barely begun and ample economic and anti-corruption reforms need to be implemented before Iraq can stand again on its feet.

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The journey to prosperity for the war-ridden country is long, but its resilient population is as optimistic as it is determined to restore the nation to its former glory.

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