Hawija (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi paramilitary forces took over two more villages on Tuesday as operations continue to clear Islamic State havens in Kirkuk’s Hawija, their media reported.
The Popular Mobilization Forces’ media service said the troops recaptured two more villages in northeast Hawija, leaving deaths among the militants.
On Monday, the Joint Operations Command said government and PMF forces recaptured up to 45 villages during a second phase of operations launched last Friday to retake Hawija, a town southwest of Kirkuk which the militants have held since 2014.
The first phase of operations launched on September 24th, and managed to retake eastern Shirqat, an Islamic State haven in neighboring Salahuddin province.
Also on Monday, Hadi al-Ameri, a high-profile PMF commander, said the force, backing the army’s Counter-Terrorism Service, liberated al-Rashad region, southeast of Hawija.
Parallel operations were launched late September targeting IS havens in western Anbar.
A wide-scale campaign launched with the backing of a U.S.-led coalition in 2016 to recapture areas occupied by IS since 2014, when the militants declared a self-styled “caliphate” rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria based in Iraq’s Mosul.
Iraqi government, coalition and paramilitary forces recaptured Mosul, the group’s former capital, and the neighboring town of Tal Afar early July and late August.