BAGHDAD, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi President Barham Salih took part in celebrations of the Iraqi Army Day on Sunday and stressed the need to strengthen the army as a "national and professional institution" for all Iraqis.
On the occasion of 98th anniversary for the establishment of the Iraqi army, Salih said in a tweet on his official account that "we recall the achievements of the army in the defense of the homeland, and the latest of which is to defeat terrorism."
Salih asserted "the need to strengthen the capabilities of the army as a national and professional institution for all Iraqis and to protect the homeland and its constitutional, democratic and federal system."
Earlier in the day, Salih attended a ceremony at the monument of the Unknown Soldier in Baghdad Green Zone, where he laid a wreath of flowers on the monument.
The televised marking of the Army Day was attended by top military commanders as well as heads and members of the diplomatic mission in Baghdad.
Separately, a statement by the media office of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, said that Abdul Mahdi attended a military parade and graduation ceremony of 167 officers of the Joint Staff College in Rustamiyah area in southeastern Baghdad and awarded them for graduation.
"The brave Iraqi army will remain for all Iraqis and be aware that it is the protector of diversity and coexistence under the roof of the constitution and our great home, Iraq," Abdul Mahdi told the ceremony.
Also in the day, Mohammed al-Halbousi, speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (parliament), expressed in a congratulatory message the "keenness of the legislative authority to support the independence of the military institution to be far from political tendencies."
Al-Halbousi pledged to "work with the government to have a strong army, and we will support the conclusion of relevant agreements in the interest of enhancing its (army) capabilities."
On Jan. 6, 1921, Iraq established its first battalion of the modern army by the British during their mandate over the country after World War I.
During the past years, the Iraqi army with other security forces have fought fiercely against the Islamic State group and liberated all the Iraqi lands in late 2017, after the extremist group seized large swathes of Iraqi territories in mid-2014 in northern and western Iraq.