Iraqi troops liberate Islamic State’s holdout in western Anbar

Iraqi government forces are seen near the Falahat village west of Fallujah on June 27, 2016.
Iraqi forces took the Islamic State group’s last positions in the city of Fallujah on June 26, establishing full control over one of the jihadists’ most emblematic bastions after a month-long operation. / AFP PHOTO / MOADH AL-DULAIMI

Baghdad ( Iraqi joint troops have managed to liberate an Islamic State’s haven in western Anbar, the military media said on Saturday.

Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said in a statement, “Joint troops of the army, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), the Tribal Mobilization Forces and Anbar police completely liberated Akashat region.”

“Troops opened the road intersection between Akashat and the international road in direction of Akashat. Combing operations are still ongoing,” the cell added.

Earlier on the day, PMF announced launch of operations to liberate Akashat from four directions. Anbar Operations Command later said joint troops reached to the region in order to liberate it.

Sputnik quoted a source as saying that the militant group withdrew a few hours after an offensive was launched there, heading toward Qaim.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said “no resistance from the group is there at Akashat.”

The region is located between Rutba town, on borders with Jordan, and Qaim, on borders with Syria.

Late on Friday, a paramilitary source said a military offensive was likely to start early on Saturday to liberate Akashat.

Last week, Emad al-Dulaimi, Rutba mayor, expected the first phase of military operation to liberate two regions of Okashat and Annah will be launched simultaneously within the coming few hours.

Anbar’s western towns of Anah, Qaim and Rawa are still held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic Caliphate. Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them.

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