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The Iraqi military has declared the city of Ramadi “liberated” from ISIS.

Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasul said forces had achieved an “epic” victory.

TV footages showed troops raising the Iraqi flag over the government complex.

However, some reports indicate there are still pockets of resistance in Ramadi.

Ramadi’s recapture marks a major reversal for the jihadist group. ISIS seized Ramadi in May, in an embarrassing defeat for the army.

Iraqi government forces have been fighting to retake it for weeks.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Photo AFP/Getty Images

State TV showed pictures of soldiers in Ramadi firing their guns in the air and publicly slaughtering a sheep in celebration.

Troops managed to capture the government compound on December 27, flushing out or killing ISIS fighters and suicide bombers who had been holding out in its buildings.

Brig. Gen. Majid al-Fatlawi of the army’s 8th division told AFP that ISIS fighters had “planted more than 300 explosive devices on the roads and in the buildings of the government complex”.

Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi praised the capture of Ramadi in a TV address.

“2016 will be the year of the big and final victory, when Daesh’s [ISIS’] presence in Iraq will be terminated,” he said.

“We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh,” he added, in a reference to the largest city under ISIS control in northern Iraq.

The operation to recapture Ramadi, about 55 miles west of Baghdad, began in early November.

It was backed by US-led coalition air strikes. But it made slow progress, mainly because the government chose not to use the powerful Shia-dominated paramilitary force that helped it regain the mainly Sunni northern city of Tikrit, to avoid increasing sectarian tensions.

The US military called the recapture a “proud moment for Iraq”.

It added that “the coalition will continue to support the government of Iraq as they move forward to make Ramadi safe for civilians to return”.

The UAE recently postponed their participation in airstrikes in December after concerns about their pilots’ safety while flying. Leaders in the UAE were worried that the plans to rescue captured personnel, if necessary, were insufficient.

Since ISIS has been known to execute its captives, including the recent burning of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, the UAE was taking precautions.

However, the UAE decided to reinstate its airstrike mission, and UAE F-16s station in Jordan recently took part in attacks. Due to the collaboration between the Iraqi and Syrian governments, as well as the aid provided by the UAE and some US-led missions, some territory has been regained from ISIS. However, although some success has been made against the terrorist group, ISIS continues to make their own strides.

The History of ISIS

ISIS started as ISI in 1999. In 2013, it announced its merger with al-Nusra Front, and the group has been using extreme force to take over cities in both Iraq and Syria. The ISIS extremist group took over Iraq and Syria last year. Since then, the group has murdered a good number of foreigners. Right now, ISIS has nearly 20,000 members, and thanks to continuous recruitment efforts by the group, more and more people continue to flock from different parts of the world in order to join the terrorist group, including Americans. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians have fled the areas that are now controlled by ISIS in order to preserve their safety. ISIS has been known to execute natives in the cities they take over for no reason.

Recent ISIS Victories

Even with airstrikes in place and minimal success efforts, ISIS is continuing to further their endeavors. In early May, ISIS seized control of Ramadi as the government decided to pull back forces. Militants detonated multiple car bombs, and the Iraqi security forces were forced to retreat, giving ISIS access to take full control. Officials in Ramadi have reportedly warned against ISIS’s advances and have asked for more backup regarding airstrikes, yet ISIS was still able to overcome the city.

Along with Ramadi, the ISIS fighters have also recently took control of Palmyra, a desert city in central Syria. The reason this is a big win for ISIS is due to the city’s gas fields and network of roads that connect it across the country’s central dessert. This will allow ISIS to have an easier way to perform illegal trafficking, as well as easier access to other major cities in Syria. While many residents have fled the town, it’s been reported that thousands of residents have been executed, although ISIS claims to restore power and healthcare within the next few days to those residents who have stayed behind.

Both the Iraqi and Syrian governments are working toward overtaking the ISIS group, although both claim that efforts will be time-consuming. Both countries are working together, as well as with US-led teams, in order to take back their countries.

About the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is a country located in the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is made up of seven emirates, including Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Rulers of the emirates, including Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi of Ras al-Khaimah, demonstrate the Pro Western stance of the United States, its allies, and moderate Muslim countries around the world.

Iran-backed Shia militias have been sent by the Iraqi government to Ramadi to recapture the city seized by Islamic State (ISIS) militants on May 17.

About 500 people are reported to have died when the Iraqi military abandoned positions in Ramadi – only 70 miles West of Baghdad.

A regional government official spoke of people fleeing Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, “in great numbers”.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The US has said it is confident the capture of Ramadi can be reversed.

Speaking in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead that’s going to change.”

The Shia militias, known as the Popular Mobilization (Hashid Shaabi), were key to the recapture from ISIS of another city, Tikrit, north of Baghdad, in April. But their use has raised concern in the US and elsewhere.

The militias pulled out of Tikrit following reports of widespread violence and looting.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Defense Minister, Hossein Dehghan, has arrived in Baghdad on a visit arranged before the latest developments in Ramadi.

The police and military made a chaotic retreat from Ramadi, which has been contested for months, after days of intense fighting.

A statement purportedly from ISIS said its fighters had “purged the entire city”. It said ISIS had taken the 8th Brigade army base, along with tanks and missile launchers left behind by troops.

The Islamic State (ISIS) has seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi after government forces abandoned their positions, officials say.

The police and military made a chaotic retreat after days of intense fighting.

Iraq’s PM Haider al-Abadi had ordered troops to stand their ground, saying he was deploying Shia militia to the city.ISIS captures Ramadi in Iraq

Ramadi is the capital of Iraq’s largest province, Anbar, and is just 70 miles West of Baghdad.

A statement purportedly from ISIS said its fighters had “purged the entire city”. It said ISIS had taken the 8th Brigade army base, along with tanks and missile launchers left behind by troops.

Footage posted on social media showed military vehicles speeding away from Ramadi, with soldiers hanging off the sides.

Reports said Iraqi forces fled following a series of suicide car bomb attacks on May 17.

Four almost simultaneous explosions hit police defending the Malaab district in southern Ramadi. Later, three more suicide bombers drove explosive-laden cars into the gate of the provincial military headquarters, the Anbar Operation Command, officials said.

PM Haider al-Abadi called on pro-government forces to “hold their positions and preserve them and not allow Daesh (ISIS) to extend to other areas in Ramadi”.

Anbar province covers a vast stretch of the country west from the capital Baghdad to the Syrian border, and contains key roads that link Iraq to both Syria and Jordan.

ISIS reportedly controls more than half of Anbar’s territory.