Iraq’s Green Zone opens to civilians after 15 years

11/12/2018 - 17:04 Published in News/Iraq

Iraqi authorities on Monday partially re-opened the heavily-fortified “Green Zone” in capital Baghdad for civilians after more than 15 years.

The move coincides with Iraqi official celebration of the first anniversary of defeating Daesh terrorist organization after a months-long military operation by Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led international coalition.

The Directorate of Public Traffic organized an official celebration of the re-opening of the Green Zone, allowing civilian vehicles to reach the areas of Karrada, Mansour and Baghdad International Airport using the route.

Last week, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi gave orders to gradually re-open the streets of the Green Zone to civilians over a period of two weeks.

The Green Zone is located on the banks of the Tigris River in central Baghdad. It is the residency of Iraqigovernment, parliament diplomatic missions, as well as the houses of most Iraqi officials.

The area is highly fortified and citizens could not enter it in the 15 years after the U.S.-led military invasion in 2003. It is surrounded by a wall of cement blocks.