Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have liberated several villages, within operations that launched earlier on the day to free al-Jazeera regions, located between three provinces of Nineveh, Salahuddin and Kirkuk.
Haidar al-Mehmedawi, spokesperson of the 33rd brigade of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (popular Mobilization Forces), was quoted by the media service as saying that “troops, in collaboration with security services, managed to free villages of Siyah al-Theeb and Abd Elwan, southwest of Nineveh desert.”
“Troops were able to advance by eight kilometers in the depth of these regions,” he added.
“The forces also blew up two booby-trapped vehicles of Islamic State members during the liberation,” he said.
PMFs also freed three other villages in southwest of Hatra region.
Another statement said, “The second brigade troops liberated villages of Subeiha, al-Maliha and Ali al-Manei, southwest of Hatra.”
“The sixth brigade freed Deir Aziz village, west of Jazeerat al-Siniyah,” it added.
Iraqi troops launched, early today, operations to liberate Al-Jazeera regions located between Salahuddin, Nineveh and Anbar provinces, a commander announced.
In a statement, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of Upper Euphrates and al-Jazeera Combing Operations, said “army and al-Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] started a wide-scale operation to liberate al-Jazeera regions located between Salahuddin, Nineveh and Anbar.”
“The operation is considered the second phase of offensives to comb al-Jazeera and Upper Euphrates areas,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hussein al-Assadi, official spokesperson of Jund-ul-Imam brigades, one of the PMFs factions, said troops started operations to liberate Jazeerat al-Siniyah, which stretches on an area of 30,000 square kilometers.
“More than 6,000 PMFs fighter take part in the operation along with the army’s ninth division and Federal Police troops,” he added.
Joint troops managed to free several residential areas in Anbar, Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk from Islamic State, which urged the militants to escape toward Al-Jazeera regions in those provinces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said during his weekly press briefing on Tuesday that his country has defeated Islamic State over the military level, but will declare final victory after desert areas are purged of militants.
Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied. Since then, forces took back the group’s former capital, Mosul, the town of Tal Afar, Kirkuk’s Hawija, and Anbar’s Annah, Rawa and Qaim.
The war against IS has displaced nearly five million people, with tens of thousands of civilians and militants killed since the launch of the offensives to recapture occupied cities.