After 5 week of fighting Iraqi forces announced that they have successfully liberated the last Islamic State stronghold in the City of Fallujah. This development comes a week after it was announced that Iraqi forces had recaptured the city’s centre and declared victory.
According to the Iraqi military, during the weeks of battle since May 23rd when the offensive began nearly 1,800 Islamic State fighters died and 85,000 civilians were displaced.
Fallujah, 65 Km from Baghdad, was the first city to be captured by IS when they began their Iraqi offensive in 2014. With Fallujah’s recapture by the government, Mosul is now the only major Iraqi city remaining under the control of the self-proclaimed caliphate.
The militant group was able to capture large portions of Iraq and Syria after launching a major offensive in 2014, but counter-offensives in recent weeks, backed by airstrikes by the US-coalition, have seen much of this territory retaken.
Despite Fallujah suffering far less damage than previous cities controlled by IS, and reportedly not requiring major repairs, Iraqi forces must now work to disarm the booby traps and bombs left behind, which would otherwise inflict significant harm on any returning civilians.
The Iraqi forces and the US-coalition will now likely turn their attention and efforts to Mosul, the largest city still under the control of the self-proclaimed caliphate anywhere and the last major city in Iraq.