Iraqi Forces Push North in Bid to Reshape Battlefield
Iraqi forces pressed their biggest offensive in months to resume their Northward advance and disrupt militants lines, security officers said.
After recapturing large parts of Beiji and the huge nearby refinery complex from the ISIL terrorist group, security and allied volunteer forces thrust further Northward up the main highway leading to Mosul.
They reached the town of Zawiyah and vowed to push on to Sharqat, the Northernmost town in Salahuddin province before the border with Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital.
“Iraqi forces are besieging the villages of Msahaq and Zawiyah,” about 25 kilometers (16 miles) North of Beiji, a senior officer in Salahuddin operations command said.
Regaining control of that stretch of road and the villages along it would contribute to isolating ISIL strongholds East of the Tigris, such as Hawijah, from the terrorists’ positions on the other side of the river.
“Retaking Zawiyah would divide the battlefield; Daesh will be in an awkward position,” retired general and security analyst Abdel Karim Khalaf said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“Their transport towards Tikrit and Ramadi will be complicated, the secondary itineraries are long and difficult,” he said.