Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered a permanent end to the nightly curfew in the country's capital, Baghdad, which has been in place for years, according to reports.
"The prime minister ordered that the curfew in the city of Baghdad be completely lifted starting from this Saturday," Brigadier General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Baghdad Operation Brigade, told Agence France-Presse.
The decision to end the curfew, which will cease to be in effect from Saturday, was motivated by the authorities' desire to “reduce the suffering of citizens,” according to Iraq's Shafaq News.
The movements of citizens in the Iraqi capital have been subject to restrictions for a decade, since the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003.
The end of the curfew is a significant change in government policy, aimed at curbing violence in the strife-torn city. The hours it has been in force have varied over the years, but it has most recently lasted from midnight to 5:00 a.m., Al Jazeera reported.
Despite the precarious security situation in the city, some Baghdad residents have been calling for an end to the curfew for years, even going so far as to stage night-time protests against it, the Washington Post reported.
Iraqi forces are currently battling militants from the Islamic State group, who have taken control of large swathes of the country.
And, despite the threat from ISIS, life in Baghdad continues as normal, and the country's security forces have shown encouraging signs that they can prevent a serious assault by the group against the capital, according to Doug Ollivant, a former National Security Council director for Iraq and current partner at Mantid International, who spoke to Vox in December 2014.