Iraqi forces storm two villages east of Islamic State-held Qaim

Iraqi forces in Tal Afar

Qaim (  Iraqi forces on Wednesday invaded two villages east of the town of al-Qaim, west of Anbar, as operations approach the recapture of  Islamic State’s last  holdouts in Iraq.

A security source told Alghad Press that Iraqi forces invaded the villages of Fayadiya and Jreijeb in Karableh, east of Qaim.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared earlier this month the launch of operations to clear the towns of Rawa and Qaim, Islamic State’s last havens on the borders with Syria.

Since Islamic State militants took over large areas of Iraq and Syria to establish a self-styled “caliphate” in 2014, Iraq government forces, backed a U.S.-led coalition, launched a wide-scale campaign to retake those regions.

So far, the offensives managed to retake Mosul, the group’s former capital, the town of Tal Afar, west of Nineveh, Kirkuk’s town of Hawija and Anbar’s Annah.

Abadi promised Tuesday to clear Qaim from IS members within days.

Local authorities and human rights agencies believe Islamic State members are holding tens of thousands of civilians in their western Anbar havens as future human shields, having killed hundreds for attempting to escape.

A monthly count by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), which excludes security members deaths, said 196 civilians were killed, while 381 others were wounded due to violence and armed conflicts during the month of September.


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