Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose country is engaged in war with ISIL said the terrorist group is seeing its organization collapse around it.
Iraqi security forces have been fighting ISIL since 2014, when the terrorist group launched a large-scale offensive and overran chunks of territory in Iraq, presstv reported.
Security operations by the Iraqi military and volunteer forces have since then led to the recapture of many of the areas that ISIL had seized, including rural areas as well as major towns and cities.
“We have seen the whole organization collapsing in terms of standing in the face of our own armed forces,” al-Abadi said
“The success of liberating a huge area indicates that ISIL does not have the gut now or the motivation to fight as they were doing before.”
The Iraqi forces are currently involved in a crucial operation to retake the only urban area under ISIL control, namely the city of Mosul, which the terrorist group has declared its headquarters in Iraq.
“This is like a snake, if you hit it in the middle or the tail, it’s no use. I have to hit it on the head. And the head of this terrorist organization is Mosul. If I remove Mosul from them, this is a huge blow… to its efforts to recruit young people from different countries of the world,” Abadi said during the interview with AP.
The Iraqi prime minister said that the operation to retake Mosul is a “difficult” one even as he said it has been going on more quickly than expected.
“This is the first time where we are liberating a city or a place where civilians are staying at home,” he said. “It’s tough, it’s difficult because the security forces tell me they are being fired at from places where there are civilians and they cannot reply in kind. So, this is a very tough thing.”
Iraqi forces have besieged Mosul, which is located some 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad, and are gradually advancing into it. They launched the operation on October 17.
The Iraqi prime minister said the decision to call on Mosul’s residents to stay in the city during the operation was meant to avoid a humanitarian disaster as an influx of displaced people could have arrived at camps outside of the city at freezing temperatures during the winter had they been urged to leave their homes.
Abadi had previously vowed that Mosul would be fully recaptured by year-end. In the interview, he stuck to that timeline.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Abadi said he had been assured by US President-elect Donald Trump that his incoming administration would offer greater logistical support to Baghdad in the campaign against terror.
On the campaign trail, Trump had implied he would seek Iraqi oil in return for US support.
“In my telephone call with President-elect Trump,” Abadi said, “he assured me that the US support will not only continue, but it is going to be increased. So, I think I am going to be looking forward to more US support.”
Referring to the oil-for-military support threat, Abadi said, “The Iraqi people will not allow any country to take possession of their own resources.”
Commenting on the Popular Mobilization Units, forces that are assisting the Iraqi army and are commonly known by their Arabic name Hashd al-Shaabi, the Iraqi prime minister said that they “are mainly volunteers, Iraqi nationalists who rise up to defend their own country. They are prepared to sacrifice their own lives, their own families for the defense of Iraq.”
On Saturday, the Iraqi parliament approved a law to give full legal status to the fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units and recognize the group as part of the national armed forces.