Beirut, Nov 21: The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah has said that the group will withdraw its fighters from Iraq once the Islamic State terror organisation has been completely eradicated.
IS has already lost practically all the territory it conquered in Iraq and in Syria, though it retains a presence in both countries, Efe news reported.
Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech aired on Al-Manar television that since the rise of IS, Hezbollah has cooperated with the Iraqi authorities by sending combatants and trainers.
“We believe that the mission has been accomplished, while we await the Iraqi announcement of the final victory, then we will take the necessary steps concerning the Hezbollah leaders and cadres present in Iraq.”
IS, which controlled nearly a third of Iraq in 2014, now occupies only a few locations in the country’s western desert along the border with Syria.
On Friday, Iraqi forces announced the liberation of the western town of Rawa, the last remaining major IS stronghold in the country.
“Liberating al-Boukamal (in eastern Syria) is a big achievement and the importance of al-Boukamal is that it is a border city and at the Qaim border crossing, thus the connection of Syria and Iraq has been achieved,” Nasrallah said.
“This victory and this achievement fortifies the unity of Syria. After the battles of Aleppo, Deir al-Zour and Mayadin, the end comes in al-Boukamal, to say that the project of dividing Syria has failed.”
He also directly accused the US of financially supporting IS and of not wanting the terrorists to withdraw from al-Boukamal.