A member of the Iraqi security forces looks at the wreckage of a vehicle in the Rawa area on November 11. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi forces have taken Rawa, the last ISIS-held town in the country, in an operation that lasted just a few hours.
The assault was launched at dawn on Friday and by late morning, commander of the operations S. Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah said that his forces had broken into the centre of Rawa district.
Around midday, the army announced that it had "liberated Rawa entirely."
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, congratulated the Iraqi forces on the victory, saying the speed of the operation “reflects the strength and great power of our heroic armed forces.”
The global anti-ISIS coalition supported the Iraqi advance “with advisors, intel, surveillance & precisions strikes against ISIS,” coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted.
The town, in western Anbar province, with a pre-ISIS population of about 20,000, was the last in Iraq still under ISIS control. Military operations to clear ISIS from the Rawa area began last week.
Operations are ongoing to clear the surrounding desert and secure the border with Syria, Abadi stated.