The Iraqi defence ministry yesterday announced the return of more than 45,000 soldiers into the national military service as the government attempts to curb unemployment and respond to protesters’ demands.
“A total of 45,049 soldiers have been returned to the national military service,” the ministry said, adding that it was continuing to issue administrative orders to return all dissolved ex-soldiers to the service.
According to the ministry’s official data, there are 108,000 dismissed soldiers from the Iraqi army.
In 2014, the ministry dismissed thousands of soldiers after leaving their positions and fleeing during the Daesh invasion on northern Iraq.
Protesters have been congregating in the capital’s central Tahrir Square for weeks, demanding the fall of the political elite in the biggest wave of mass demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Protests have accelerated dramatically in recent days, drawing huge crowds from across sectarian and ethnic divides. More than 250 people were killed in October during the demonstrations.
The protests, driven by discontent over economic hardship and corruption, have broken nearly two years of relative stability in Iraq.