MANILA – The Philippines has joined the international community in congratulating Iraq after Baghdad announced that its forces have taken control of the strategic northwestern city of Tal Afar from the Islamic State.
“We congratulate the government and people of Iraq for the victory in Tal Afar. This victory is not Iraq’s alone but also of the whole world,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced the liberation of the city.
“We draw inspiration from Iraq’s victory in Tal Afar as we move closer towards defeating our common enemy in Marawi,” Cayetano said in a statement from Busan, South Korea after attending the opening ceremonies for the ASEAN Culture House.
Prime Minister Al Abadi declared victory on Thursday, 10 days after Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake the city.
The victory in Tal Afar came two months after Iraqi forces liberated Mosul, the country’s second largest city that had served as the de facto capital of the Islamic State since its capture in 2014.
The capture of Tal Afar followed the announcement by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that it will undertake its own final push to end a three-month standoff with Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City. (PR/PNA)