Despite a “historic” victory in Mosul the war against Daesh is not over, a senior US commander in Iraq has warned.
Lt Gen Stephen Townsend told BBC News that he believes Daesh fighters are still in Iraq, stressing that Iraqis must “unite” to ensure that the Islamic group’s militants were defeated across the rest of the country.
Townsend also urged the Iraqi government to reach out to the Sunni Arab minority. “If we’re to keep… ISIS [Daesh] 2.0 from emerging, the Iraqi government is going to have to do something pretty significantly different,” he said, adding:
“They’re going to have to reach out and reconcile with the Sunni population and make them feel like their government in Baghdad represents them.”
Over the past three years Daesh seized control of much of northern and western Iraq after exploiting widespread Sunni anger at the sectarian policies of the country’s Shia, Arab-led government.
On Monday Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, however Iraqi forces have confirmed that there are still dozens of Daesh militants in the country who use their wives and children as human shields.