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Iraq's prime minister vowed on 22 January a "collapsing" Islamic State's (Isis) presence in his country would be largely eradicated by the end of the year. Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland, prime minister Haider al-Abadi pledged the militant group Daesh's military defeat.
"We are winning this war," he said, noting his recent declared victory over the IS militants in the city of Ramadi in December 2015. "Which, to be honest with you, some areas were never under the control of Iraqi security forces for very long time – even before Daesh rolled into Iraq. Now it's been liberated, Daesh is pushed back, Daesh is almost on the retreat, it's collapsing," he said.
The Iraqi army's capture of Ramadi, a provincial capital west of Baghdad, marked a major milestone for the US-trained Iraqi forces who crumbled when IS (Daesh) fighters charged into Iraq in June 2014. In previous battles since then, Iraq's armed forces operated mainly in a supporting role beside Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias. Ramadi acknowledged that acts of "terrorism" from IS were likely to persist in the country, even if the militants' presence were largely pushed into neighbouring Syria. It was a continuing security challenge, he said.
"Most of hardcore fighters in Iraq are non-Iraqis. They are from all over the world. And of course Daesh is not being created in Iraq. It's being created in Syria," he continued. "That's a big question that's got to be answered: How Daesh was allowed to be built in that strength in Syria?"
Abadi's comments came during a round table discussion with his Lebanese counterpart, Tammam Salam and CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour at the WEF forum in Davos, Switzerland. While in Davos the prime minister also met with US Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State John Kerry. The trio discussed the urgency of mobilising international support to stabilise the city of Ramadi, the White House said.