Qaim (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi government forces invaded new regions Friday in their way to invade the Islamic State-held town of Qaim west of Anbar.
Commander of Anbar Operations, Abdul-amir Yarallah, said in a statement that “army, Counter-Terrorism Service, Popular Mobilization Forces and Tribal Mobilization invaded Saada, Karableh and Husaiba in Qaim”.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared late October 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, Iraqi government forces, backed paramilitary troops and 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.
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.