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Iranian president declares end of Islamic State

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FT ONLINE

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the end of Islamic State on Tuesday in an address broadcast live on state TV.

A senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Qassem Soleimani, also declared the end of Islamic State in a message sent to the country’s supreme leader Tuesday which was published on Sepah News, the news site of the Guards.

In a congratulatory message to the Leader on Tuesday, General Soleimani hailed the “great victory” over Daesh which was materialized thanks to the prudent leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei and the sacrifices of all resistance fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Backed by popular groups and Iranian military advisors, armed forces in Iraq and Syria have managed to flush Daesh militants out of their last strongholds in both countries, declaring full victory over the notorious terror group.

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Syrian children waving the government flag and carrying posters bearing the picture of President Bashar al-Assad raise the victory sign as they receive trucks carrying food aid arriving in the northeastern city of Dayr al-Zawr

Soleimani praised the steadfastness of the Iraqi and Syrian nations, governments, armies and popular forces throughout the counter-terrorism battles, paying special homage to the endeavors and struggles of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, in the offensive to annihilate Daesh.

The general also thanked Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement for its “powerful presence” and the pivotal role it played on the battlefield against terrorists in Syria.

Soleimani made reference to a long list of hideous crimes committed by Daesh during its “sinister” terror campaign, including mass beheadings, enslavements, and immolation of innocent people.

The Takfiri outfit, he added, managed to seize swathes of land in the two Arab states where it unleashed a crisis by radicalizing and recruiting thousands of youths.

The onslaught, he said, displaced millions of people and destroyed thousands of mosques and religious centers.

Soleimani further highlighted Washington’s destructive role amid the regional fight against terror.

He said even the highest-ranking American official, the president of the United States, has acknowledged that all these crimes have been orchestrated and perpetrated by individuals and organizations with links to the United States, adding that US leaders are treading on the same path even now.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi prepares to erect a national flag in al-Qa’im on November 5, 2017, after troops retook the border town from Daesh

 

On Friday, Iraqi armed forces liberated Rawa near the border with Syria, which was the last remaining town under Daesh’s control, and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings.

Two days later, Syrian army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from popular defense groups, fully liberated Bukamal, Daesh’s last stronghold in Syria, which is a strategic city in the country’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr on the border with Iraq.

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R) greets IRGC commanders, including Commander of Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani (C)

Videos and pictures of Soleimani, who commands the Quds Force, the branch of the Guards responsible for operations outside of Iran’s borders, at frontline positions in battles against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been posted frequently by Iranian media in recent years.

General Soleimani traveled to Syria to personally oversee the final stages of the Bukamal liberation operation.

Last week, Iranian media published pictures of Soleimani at Albu Kamal in eastern Syria, a town which Soleimani said Tuesday was the last territory retaken from Islamic State control in the region.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military force which also oversees an economic empire worth billions of dollars, has been fighting in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the central government in Baghdad for several years.

More than a thousand members of the Guards, including senior commanders, have been killed in Syria and Iraq.

The recapture of the two cities marked an end to Daesh’s reign of terror, which started in 2014 with the group making vast territorial gains in a lightning offensive and establishing its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqah.

-SAM

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