Defence Minister Marise Payne has congratulated Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi after he declared that all areas of his country have been liberated from ISIS control.
“We congratulate the Iraqi Security Forces for their courage and determination in defeating this national, regional and international threat,” a December 10 ministerial release reads. “The liberation of Iraqi cities and towns from ISIS control has saved countless lives and ended a pattern of terror, anguish and murder.”
The declaration comes after several months of mopping up operations against ISIS remnants following the decisive Battle of Mosul which played out in July and August.
“Australia has made a significant contribution to the international counter-ISIS Coalition through supporting the Iraqi Security Forces’ campaign, providing direct air support, advice and assistance to the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, and training Iraqi Army and law enforcement units. Australia has also committed $180 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq since 2011.”
An RAAF air task group (ATG) comprising six F/A-18F Super Hornets, a KC-30 MRTT and an E-7A Wedgetail remains based at Al Minhad AB in the UAE in case of any flare ups in fighting and to support ongoing operations against ISIS in eastern Syria, but is expected to be withdrawn in the new year.