Iraqi army soldiers, allies take back more areas near Hawijah from Daesh
Iraqi army forces, backed by allied fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, have fully liberated more areas near the strategic northern town of Hawijah from the clutches of Daesh militants, as they have launched a final assault to retake the terrorists’ last bastion in the country’s oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk.
The commander of the Hawijah liberation operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Wednesday that army troops, members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) and pro-government forces, commonly known by their Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, had freed the villages of al-Maslakha, al-Mullali, al-Sada and al-Fathah, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.
Yarallah added that the troops established complete control over the Makhoul mountain range, fully liberated al-Harrariyat region, and taken back the western flank of al-Fathah Bridge.
The high-ranking Iraqi military commander further underlined that Iraqi government soldiers and their allies had accomplished their tasks concerning the liberation of Hawijah, located 45 kilometers west of Kirkuk.
Meanwhile, the media bureau of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) stated that a total of 98 villages had been retaken during the second part of the second phase of the Hawijah liberation operation.
The JOC added that army soldiers, CTS forces and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had also liberated al-Rashad region and Heynas air base, wrested control over the road linking Kirkuk to the city of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad, and managed to cleanse an expanse of 2,400 square kilometers from Daesh terrorists.
Iraqi forces also destroyed 13 cars rigged with explosives, 30 militant fortifications, five arms depots and 300 explosive devices.
On September 29, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the second phase of the offensive to liberate Hawijah from the grip of Daesh Takfiris.
“We announce the start of the second phase of the liberation of Hawijah and all the surrounding areas to the west of Kirkuk, and as promised, the sons of our country are continuing to liberate every inch of the land of Iraq and crush the gangs of the Daesh terrorist group,” Abadi said in a statement.
The first phase of the operation to liberate Hawijah was launched on September 21.