Iraqi PM Thanks Top Shiite Cleric for Key Role in Fight against Daesh
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed his gratitude to top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali al-Sistani for his major role in the liberation of the Iraqi lands, including the northern city of Mosul from Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Iraqi premier praised Ayatollah Sistani for his fatwa (religious order) calling on his followers to fight against Daesh terrorists and thanked his strong supports for the army’s campaign against terrorists, according to the Arabic-language al-Forat news agency.
The historic stance of the religious leader in defense of the Iraqi nation and his 2014 fatwa "has saved Iraq and paved the way for victory" over the Daesh, Abadi said.
He also highlighted the importance of recent calls by religious leaders for peaceful coexistence of various ethnic groups in the Arab country to prevent any sectarian conflicts.
Daesh militants made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing swaths of northern Syria.
Afterwards, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after Ayatollah Sistani issued a fatwa calling for the fight against the militants, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive and forced the terrorist group withdraw from much of the areas it had occupied.
After eight months of difficult urban warfare, Iraqi military forces on Thursday captured the Mosul mosque at the heart of the northern city, which Daesh had declared its de facto capital.
Earlier, Abadi had said that the liberation of the site of the symbolic al-Nuri Mosque in Old Mosul is “the declaration of the end of the statelet of Daesh.”
Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Daesh militants are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.
Daesh stronghold in Syria’s Raqqa is also close to falling.