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Troops Fully Recapture Ramadi, Iraq Says


FILE - Iraqi security forces celebrate as they hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraq says its forces have completely recaptured the city of Ramadi and surrounding areas from Islamic State, but now must deal with the thousands of bombs the terrorists planted throughout the city.

Iraq first declared Ramadi liberated in December when Islamic State was pushed out of the center of the city. But it took until this week for Iraqi forces to say the city is completely in their hands.

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes helped the Iraqis drive out the militants.

Islamic State seized Ramadi last May in what was a huge blow to the government and military.

The city is nearly empty of civilians and U.N. officials say the level of destruction left behind is staggering.

Iraq's ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily, told VOA that the Iraqi forces will now focus on retaking Mosul, lost to Islamic State in 2014.

But just like the situation in Ramadi, Faily said this is an Iraqi fight and not one for foreign forces.

"We have not asked the United States for troops and there was clear agreement from both capitals that the fight should be led by the Iraqis,” Faily said. “We don't need boots on the ground or combat forces."

Faily said the Iraqis have been grateful for the cooperation they have gotten so far from the U.S.-led coalition, but he said more is needed to complete the job.

"We need to have close collaboration, we need other countries to have a clear sense of urgency as we do have,” he said. “So when you say we are satisfied, I think the only satisfaction we will get is when we get rid of ISIS [Islamic State] once and for all."

Watch Ambassador Faily's interview with VOA:

Iraqi US Ambassador Lukman Faily Discusses Cooperation Between Iraq and Partners
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