Heather Nauert department spokesperson has said that after a courageous three year campaign of intense fighting, Prime Minister Abadi has announced the complete liberation of all Iraqi territory from ISIS control. The United States applauds the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi, and we offer our sincere congratulations to the Iraqi people and to the brave Iraqi Security Forces, many of whom lost their lives heroically fighting ISIS. The Iraqi announcement signals the last remnants of ISIS’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq have been erased and the people living in those areas have been freed from ISIS’s brutal control.
The United States joins the Government of Iraq in stressing that Iraq’s liberation does not mean the fight against terrorism, and even against ISIS, in Iraq is over. The United States, along with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, will continue to partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, advising, training, and equipping them. Together, we must be vigilant in countering all extremist ideologies to prevent the return of ISIS or the emergence of threats by other terrorist groups.
Throughout its vile occupation of large areas of Iraq, ISIS showed its despicable nature by using children and other civilians as human shields and turning hospitals, mosques, universities, and schools into weapons-making and storage facilities and bases for its terrorist operations. The Global Coalition has been proud to support the Iraqi Security Forces who fought bravely to defeat these terrorists.
Beyond human casualties, ISIS left a trail of destruction in its wake, with an unprecedented number of Iraqis displaced from their homes and massive damage to infrastructure. The United States has contributed nearly $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance and committed more than $265 million in stabilization assistance to Iraq since 2014. The United States has also contributed $112 million to assist in clearing improvised explosive devices, mines, and unexploded ordinance, as well as educating Iraqis on the dangers of explosive hazards that ISIS left behind. These efforts have helped facilitate the safe and voluntary return of more than 2.7 million Iraqis to their homes.
Working “by, with, and through” the Government of Iraq, we will continue to help our displaced Iraqi friends return to their communities and support them as they begin to reestablish their lives. We remain committed to standing with the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people to stabilize areas liberated from ISIS control.