Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Qayyara airbase Monday. Photo: PM Media Office
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – “This is the new Iraq,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, hailing the coordination of multiple forces in the ongoing offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS.
“All peoples are here to fight with us, Kurd with Arabs, Shia with Sunnis, and all the minorities are here with us – Christians, Yezidis and Turkmen all fighting shoulder-to-shoulder.”
“The forces that are advancing now from all the villages and towns are there to protect you,” Abadi told the people of Mosul in an interview with Iraqiya TV from Qayyara base on Monday evening.
“These are our forces. This is the new Iraq.”
He particularly stressed the historic cooperation between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, saying “For the first time in Iraqi history the Iraqi federal forces with Peshmerga are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder. They liberate territories and share spilling their blood with us to liberate their areas.”
He said that the Iraqi forces are heroes whose goal is to protect citizens and that in the face of the Iraqi forces, ISIS militants “have no option, no exit except to surrender or die.”
He told the people of Mosul to not be afraid of the Shiite militia forces who are under the general command of the armed forces and are “volunteers from sons of Iraq, son of Basra, Karbala, Saladin, Anbar and Diyala. They are fighting here not for land or any interest but to defend the people of Mosul. When they have liberated Iraqi territory, they will return back to their own homes, as they did in Anbar and in other places.”
“They are Iraqi citizens. They sacrifice themselves.”
Abadi also called on Turkey to respect Iraq’s sovereignty, saying, “We respect all our neighbors and all countries in the region to live peacefully. Iraq is for Iraqis. They rule their own and they manage their own issues. We do not want anyone to speak on behalf of Iraqis or interfere in Iraqi affairs.”
Abadi also urged all politicians to avoid disputes and be united as the military forces are united.