Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) Over 35,000 Iraqi security men were killed during the three-year war against Islamic State, an Iraqi military source said.
“The anti-IS war has left over 35,000 Iraqi security men killed, and another 35,000 injured,” the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Monday.
He added that the mentioned casualties included army and police personnel, al-Hashd al-Shaabi fighters and members of the Counter Terrorism Service.
“Thousands of Iraqi troops have sustained severe injures, and should travel abroad for surgeries but the government cannot do so due to the austerity policy it has recently adopted.”
“The Iraqi government should pay due regard to the victims’ families and help the injured travel abroad to undergo surgeries as soon as possible,” the source pointed out.
He highlighted that the Iraqi military has lost billions of dollars in the fight against IS militants, who destroyed many of military equipment and warplanes in the country.
“The last war against Islamic State was one of the most devastating wars in Iraq’s history as it led to the weakening of Iraqi military and destruction of the country’s infrastructure,” he stressed.
Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq earlier in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.
IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by the US-led international coalition, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.
The United Nations says nearly five million people have been displaced since Islamic State militants took over large areas of Iraq in 2014.
Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over Islamic State, announcing the end of a three-year war against the militant group.
“Our battle against the enemy, who wanted to destroy our civilization, is over. Thus, we gained victory through our unity and determination that made us defeat IS in short time,” he said.
Abadi’s announcement came two days after Russia announced a similar victory over Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria. Abadi declared Dec. 10 an annual national holiday on this occasion.