Iraqi PM raises flag at IS-free crossing with Syria

 06 Nov 2017 - 10:01

Iraqi PM raises flag at IS-free crossing with Syria
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) hangs an Iraqi flag during his visit Qaim town and Husaybah border gate, newly-liberated town from IS terrorists, in Anbar, Iraq on November 5, 2017. ( Iraq Prime Ministry Press Office - Handout - Anadolu Agency ).

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BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday raised the Iraqi flag over the newly-liberated city of Al-Qaim and Husaybah border crossing with Syria.

According to a statement issued by al-Abadi’s office, the prime minister visited the area and flied the national flags during a ceremony.

Al-Abadi praised Iraqi government forces' role in the retake of Al-Qaim from IS terrorist group, attributing their success to “their dedication”.

Hashd al-Shaabi and the forces of Iraqi central government conducted a joint military plan to take control of Syrian border in Anbar, Kazim Abd al-Waheed, a commander of the pro-government Hashd al-Shaabi militia, told Anadolu Agency.

Located two kilometers from Al-Qaim city and 410 kilometers west of provincial capital Ramadi, the Husaybah crossing links the Iraqi city of Al-Qaim to the town of Abu Kamal in Syria’s Deir ez-Zour province. 

On Friday, Iraqi forces moved into and captured Al-Qaim near the Syrian border with a view to driving IS terrorists from their last remaining stronghold in Iraq’s western Anbar province.

“Army troops backed by Hashd al-Shaabi fighters and Arab tribal volunteers have completely liberated Al-Qaim’s city center,” Army Colonel Walid al-Duleimi told Anadolu Agency.

“The Iraqi national flag has been raised over the city’s local government headquarters,” he added.

Last month, Al-Qaim became the last IS-held Iraq-Syria border crossing after Iraqi forces retook the Al-Walid and Rabia crossings, respectively located in Anbar and the Nineveh province.

Last month, the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging campaign aimed at capturing the cities of Rawa and Al-Qaim, IS's last remaining redoubts in Anbar province. 

The notorious terrorist group has recently suffered a string of crushing defeats in both Iraq and Syria after overrunning vast swathes of territory in both countries in 2014.