The Iraqi army retook the final piece of territory held by Islamic State fighters in Fallujah on Sunday, confirming a tentative win declared a week ago when a small number of terrorists had yet to be routed.
The city was controlled by ISIS since January of 2014, when the then-nascent terrorist organization had yet to declare a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. Sunday’s victory came after five weeks of fighting in which 1,800 ISIS militants were killed.
“We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter terrorism service,” said Iraqi Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, “and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Fallujah is over.”
Now, however, a humanitarian crisis lingers, as refugees from the war-torn city are crowded into nearby camps with inadequate supplies of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Some 85,000 people have fled the fighting in Fallujah, and aid agencies are struggling to keep up. “People are going to die,” said Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, “because they are exposed to the elements and the searing heat.”
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