ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi security forces announced on Sunday that they had embarked on a new “large” military operation aimed at chasing down remnants of the Islamic State in multiple locations of semi-desert terrain located in the northwestern part of the country near the Syrian border.
The areas where the operation is taking place, in the provinces of Nineveh, Salahuddin, and Anbar, are known together as the “desert triangle,” a security source told Kurdistan 24.
Since the fall of the former regime in 2003, the area has been used as a launching pad by multiple insurgent groups to attack Iraqi security forces and civilian targets.
The military campaign against remaining members of the Islamic State is just the latest major one carried out by Iraqi security forces, with the participation of both Shia Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) militias and their local Sunni counterparts, according to an announcement released by the deputy commander of the joint operation, Major General Abdul-Amir Yarallah. Additional support, he continued, was being provided by US-led coalition aircraft.
“This morning, the first phase of Operation Irada al-Nasr began with a large campaign to clear the areas between Salahuddin, Nineveh, and Anbar provinces along the Iraqi-Syrian international border,” he stated.
“This operation will continue for several days.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement issued shortly after the operation was launched that the combined forces “will achieve a definite victory... against the gangs of Da’esh [Islamic State] terrorists.”
Iraq announced the military defeat of the extremist group in December 2017, but its members continue to launch insurgent attacks, including ambushes and kidnappings, in several provinces across the country.
Editing by John J. Catherine