A high-ranking Iraqi security official says government troops, supported by allied fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, have succeeded to purge more than half of the desert areas in the country’s western province of Anbar of Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language al-Sabah al-Jadid daily newspaper on Sunday, Chairman of Anbar Provincial Security Council Naeem al-Kaoud said security forces and volunteer fighters, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, have cleansed over 80 percent of Anbar desert areas of the extremists following multi-pronged military operations there.
He added, “The troops also destroyed several Daesh hotbeds and remotely detonated four armored vehicles, which were used by the militant group.”
Kaoud went on to say that ten more people were also arrested on suspicion of joining Daesh terror group.
“Although the militants hotbeds were built underground, the troops were able to destroy them after receiving intelligence reports on their locations,” the senior security official pointed out.
“The military operation, backed by the Iraqi Air Force, comes as part of ongoing efforts to eliminate Daesh militants on the country’s borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan,” Kaoud noted.
On December 9, 2017, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.
“Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh,” Abadi told a conference in Baghdad then.
Abadi visited the town of Qa’im and the nearby Husaybah border crossing in far western Iraq on November 5, and raised the Iraqi flag at the border crossing.
On October 5, Abadi said Iraqi armed forces had liberated Hawijah, driving Daesh Takfiris out of their last bastion in the oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk.
The Iraqi prime minister said on August 31 that the northwestern city of Tal Afar, located 200 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk, and the entire Nineveh Province had been purged of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The recapture of Tal Afar was made possible with the help of the Iraqi army, Federal Police, Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) units, Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters and the Interior Ministry’s elite rapid response forces, the Iraqi prime minister stated.
On July 10, Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul’s liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.