Iraqi forces are digging a trench around Fallujah to keep Daesh terrorists at bay and prevent any potential onslaught and systematic looting of the recently-liberated city.
Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, the commander of Fallujah Liberation Operation, said the ditch will have a single opening for local residents to move in and out of the western city, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad.
It “will protect the city’s residents, who have lived through many tragedies, as well as security forces deployed there,” Saadi commented.
The trench will be about 11 kilometers (7 miles) long, about 12.5 meters (40 feet) wide and 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep.
Mayor Issa al-Issawi said work on the first phase of the project, extending about 6 kilometers (4 miles) on the north and northwest side of Fallujah, has got underway, and the second phase, which runs five kilometers (3 miles) along the south and southeast, will begin soon.
The western edge of Fallujah leads to the Euphrates River, which serves as a natural barrier. On the eastern side lies the heavily-patrolled highway to Baghdad, which will be the sole entrance to Fallujah.
Major General Saad Harbiyah, commander of military operations in western Baghdad, said the trench runs through open desert areas on the northern outskirts of Fallujah, which Daesh militants have used in the past to attack.
Smoke rises in the city of Fallujah on June 30, 2016 as Iraqi forces destroy a booby-trapped building after they recaptured the city from Takfiri Daesh terrorists. ©AFP
Iraqi military officials declared Fallujah fully liberated from Daesh terrorists on June 26, noting that at least 1,800 Takfiri militants had been killed in the operation to recapture the strategic city.
Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall in the hands of Daesh terrorists in January 2014.
Iraqi government troops initially launched the offensive to retake Fallujah on May 23. After weeks-long clashes with Daesh terrorists, Iraqi forces entered the center of Fallujah on June 17 without facing significant resistance from Daesh terrorists, and raised the national flag on the main government compound there.
“We must turn a new page with Fallujah. There is no other way for reconciliation. We must punish those with blood on their hands, but not those who merely joined Daesh. Revenge and mass trials will only breed more hatred and resentment,” Saadi pointed out.
The report comes as the Iraqi government also plans to dig a trench along the border between the embattled western province of Anbar, where Fallujah is located, and neighboring Karbala, which houses the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and third Shia imam.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in the country in June 2014.
Iraqi government forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units, have been pushing the militants out of the country’s territory.