Iraqi Forces Launch New Military Campaign Against ISIS Strongholds
Despite announcing the defeat of ISIS in Iraq in 2017, Iraq is still fighting the militant group in pockets of the country.
Iraqi forces, supported by U.S. air forces, launched an intensive military campaign on Sunday aimed at eliminating ISIS Islamist militants in three Iraqi provinces.
Iraqi military sources told Kurdistan 24 that the new operation is taking place in what is known as the “desert triangle,” which is made up of three northwestern Iraqi border provinces: Anbar, Nineveh and Salahualdin – all near the Syria border.
The commander of the joint operation, Major General Abdul-Amir Yarallah, was quoted as saying that the Iraqi forces are being joined by the Shia Hashd-Asha’bi (Popular Mobilization Forces), along with their Sunni counterparts and aircraft provided by the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq.
The Popular Mobilization Forces are an Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of over 40 militias, mostly Shia Muslim, but it includes other groups as well.
Amir-Yarallah said that the current army action is a major operation that is aimed at removing the Dae’sh, or ISIS, operatives from Iraqi territories.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Popular Mobilization Forces announced the killing of a major ISIS leader in the Anbar province.
Last May, ISIS carried out several attacks on Iraqi targets, mainly on oilfields near Takrit. During the attacks, militants of the Popular Mobilization Forces clashed with the insurgents.
Since the 2003 fall of the former Iraqi regime of the deposed late president, Saddam Hussein, the northwestern border areas of Iraq have seen multiple terrorist attacks carried out by insurgents against military and civilian Iraqi targets.
In December 2017, Iraqi military officials announced the defeat of the Islamic State. However, attacks by the group continued across Iraqi regions like Mosul and even the capital Baghdad, which has never fallen under the control of Da’esh. ISIS’s assault tactics include ambushes and suicide attacks.