DPA (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi warplanes dropped leaflets on Thursday on areas held by the Islamic State near the Syrian and Jordanian borders telling civilians that military offensives to free them were close.
DPA quoted an Iraqi military colonel Yasser Jabbar saying the leaflets were dropped in millions on western Anbar towns of Annah, Rawa and Qaim, telling civilians to not to allow IS militants to lure their sons into fighting on the group’s side.
The messages urged also to steer out of areas held by the group as forces would increase airstrikes targeting those spots, the colonel said. iraqi air forces had adopted the technique throughout earlier military campaigns targeting IS havens.
Islamic State has held the three towns since 2014, when they occupied a third of Iraq to proclaim an “Islamic Caliphate”. So far, there has not been a wide-scale campaign to retake those regions, but occasional offensives managed to take over several surrounding villages.
The Iraqi government declared victory over IS in Mosul, the group’s former capital in Iraq, earlier this month, and said it was going to proceed towards other group holdouts.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his military commanders said recently that plans were ready for the invasion of the IS stronghold town of Tal Afar, west of Nineveh, which made observers believe it was definitely the next target of operations.
The Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that though the Joint Operations Command gives “special attention” to the liberation of Tal Afar, troops can launch simultaneous operations also targeting IS havens in Kirkuk’s Hawija and the western Anbar towns of Annah and Rawa.