Culture

Iraqis celebrate anniversary of victory over ISIS

Iraq

One year ago, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) announced the country's victory over the terrorist group ISIS. On Saturday and Monday nights, Iraqis took to the streets to celebrate this occasion.

One year has passed since former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), and the Peshmerga defeated ISIS in the country. The announcement of victory came as the security forces took control over the last territory held by ISIS in Iraq’s western Anbar Province.

While Mosul, the last major city under ISIS control, was liberated in July 2017, a number of cities in Anbar and Nineveh Provinces remained under the group’s control up until the official announcement on December 9th.

Commemorating this occasion, the Iraqi Government announced that the 10th of December would be considered a national holiday, in which celebrations would take place all over the country.

On the first commemoration of Victory Day, Iraqis took to the streets waving Iraqi flags and celebrating their victory over the militant group, which took over a third of the country in 2014.

Iraqis also held a moment of silence to remember the country’s fallen fighters and stand in solidarity with the families of those killed and injured.

The night of Victory Day saw a large display of fireworks in addition to public ceremonies all throughout the capital, Baghdad, and other major cities in Iraq.

On Monday, the day of the Victory Day celebrations, the PMU successfully foiled an ISIS plot to spoil the celebrations in Diyala Province, east of Baghdad. This is part of a comprehensive security plan that was put in place to protect celebrating civilians.

While ISIS’ defeat in Iraq in December 2017 is considered a huge blow to their propaganda and land control, the group’s sleeper cells are still operating in the country.

However, military operations are ongoing to root out these cells, say Iraqi military officials.

The ISF have launched major security operations to rid the country of any remnants of the militant group over the past year.

In November of this year, the ISF launched a large scale pre-emptive operation in Nineveh Province to clear sleeper cells and reduce the threat of any potential ISIS infiltrations from Syria. The operation successfully resulted in the arresting and killing of over 35 militants, and the destruction of many hideouts.

The demonstrations on Victory Day show that Iraqis, one year from their victory against ISIS, remain supportive of the country’s security apparatus, which defeated one of the world most notorious terrorist groups.