Heet district sees full return of displaced residents
By Khalid al-Taie
All displaced families have returned home to the district of Heet in western Anbar province, the district's local administration said Tuesday (December 3rd).
"We no longer have any internally displaced persons (IDPs) in displacement camps," Heet's mayor Muhannad al-Obeidi told Diyaruna.
Following ISIS's invasion of Heet in October 2014, most of the administrative district's roughly 120,000 residents were forced to flee to camps set up to accommodate them in eastern Anbar.
After Heet was liberated in April 2016, the local population began to gradually return in batches.
They were mostly motivated to return home by the improved security in the district, al-Obeidi said.
"After the district was liberated, tight security measures were put in place that prevented the terrorists from returning or carrying out any major attacks," he said.
"The situation has been completely stable for almost a year," al-Obeidi said, noting that the army's 7th Division and the local police maintain firm control of the area.
These forces' ranks have been beefed up after formerly dismissed personnel were allowed to return to service, he added.
They have been carrying out security missions in the desert near Heet district that have helped oust ISIS remnants and restrict their movements, he said.
Accurate information provided by the intelligence services and the local residents help keep the terrorists at bay, he said, adding that citizens are today more keen on keeping their areas safe.
"They will not allow terrorism to destroy their lives again," al-Obedi said.
Meanwhile, reconstruction of service projects damaged by ISIS and the war has been proceeding on schedule.
Several water and power service projects have been completed and are operating at their normal capacity, he said, adding that four destroyed schools, the main hospital, a maternity ward and primary health care centres have been rehabilitated.
These projects have been completed with funding from the Anbar government and the Fund for Rebuilding Areas Affected by Terrorist Operations.
"We also have service projects that are more than 80% complete, and others that are about to open, most notably the Heet highway project," said al-Obeidi.