Iraqi forces, backed by volunteer fighters, have liberated two villages in the strategic western province of Anbar from Takfiri ISIL terrorists as part of a large-scale operations to dislodge ISIL from the province.
“The security forces were able to advance and liberate the areas of Albu Shijil and Shiha near Khaldiyah, between Saqlawiya and Ramadi,” an unnamed army lieutenant colonel said Monday, AFP reported.
He said the operation was made possible after Iraqi forces had laid siege to the ISIL militants inside their stronghold of Fallujah, further east.
Ibrahim al-Fahdawi, a top official from the Khaldiyah area, confirmed the liberation of the two villages in the Euphrates Valley.
Earlier in the day, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, who is the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, announced in a televised statement that Iraqi government troops, backed by Shia and Sunni volunteers, started the operations at dawn Monday.
Also in May, the Iraqi army, backed by volunteer fighters known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, launched a major offensive in an effort to retake Ramadi, a key town in the province, from the ISIL.
Anbar Province, which is located in the western part of Iraq, is the major stronghold of ISIL militants in the country. The terrorist group controls swathes of land in northern parts of Iraq as well as in eastern Syria.