AP – Iraqi forces aided by the US-led coalition have retaken half the territory the Daesh group once held in the country, a senior US official said Wednesday during a visit to Baghdad.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced $181 million to address a humanitarian crisis that has festered in Iraq despite progress on the battlefield. More than 3.3 million Iraqis remain displaced from their homes due to violence, according to the United Nations.
Despite a series of major defeats in recent months, Daesh still controls Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Iraq hopes to launch an operation to retake Mosul this year, which UN and US officials say could displace another 1 million people.
Blinken said the way authorities handle the potential displacement in Mosul will be an important “test case” for lasting political reconciliation in the country.
Iraq remains deeply divided, with many in the Sunni minority viewing the Shiite-led government with suspicion and ethnic Kurds in the north pursuing greater autonomy.
“The painstaking work of reconciliation and governance… will ensure that Daesh, once defeated, stays defeated,” Blinken said.
At the height of its power, IS ruled a self-declared caliphate stretching across a third of Iraq as well as large swaths of neighboring Syria.


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