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Iraq launches offensive to liberate northern Hawijah from Daesh

Iraq launches offensive to liberate northern Hawijah from Daesh”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi had earlier announced a military operation to capture the remaining areas held by IS in western Anbar after a successful operation in Tal Afar last month end.

Hawija, located in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, 240km north of Baghdad, is one of the last pockets of territory held by ISIL fighters in Iraq.

The operation, supported by the aircraft of the worldwide coalition antidjihadistes and the helicopters of the iraqi army, aims to seize three towns still in the hands of the AES, a hundred kilometers from the syrian border in the vast desert in the western province of al-Anbar.

Since its emergence and subsequent rise in mid-2014, IS has suffered heavy defeats in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The Iraqi military source said the assault on Ana and its surrounding district was being supported by US-led coalition air strikes and military advisers on the ground.

But it was surrounded and cut off from other IS-held territory more than a year ago, when government forces advanced north towards the second city of Mosul.

The US-led worldwide coalition is providing air support to the Iraqi forces' offensive on Hawija, Iraqi state TV said.

Iraq armed forces spokesman Gen. Yahyah Rasul said that Kurdish peshmerga forces will remain involved in the battle to clear IS militants from the area, despite recent tensions over Kirkuk. These events of Hawija had been "a turning point in the violence which had led to a re-enable of insurgent groups", had considered a report from the International Crisis Group, in particular, and that extremists linked to Al-Qaeda.

The coalition airstrikes, in coordination with Iraq forces, have hit 29 IS targets already in Hawija and 34 in western Anbar, Dillon said.

The recapture of Akashat has put Iraqi forces at an advantage to secure the highway near Anah and Rayhannah and consolidate its position in the strategic route to Deir -Zor, where IS faces a multi-front offensive from Syrian forces and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to the west and the east of Euphrates valley respectively.



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