Military operations launch to retake Islamic State’s bastions in Anbar

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is seen on a screen as he speaks via a videoconference during a ministerial summit to hold discussion on the future of Mosul city, post-Islamic State, in Paris, France, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Qaim ( The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has announced launch of operations to liberate Qaim and Rawa towns, Islamic State’s last strongholds in western Anbar.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Abadi addressed the people saying that troops have swept through Qaim, Rawa and al-Qasabat. “We will continue our achievements in all fields to our people.”

He also reiterated that Islamic State has no option other than surrendering or death.

On Wednesday, the military media said hundreds of thousands of messages were airdropped on the two towns informing civilians that security troops are coming to free them and urging them to stay away from the enemy.

Na’im al-Ka’oud, head of the Anbar provincial council’s security committee, was quoted this week as saying that military Operations to retake Rawa and Qaim will be launched by end of the month.

Anbar’s western towns of Qaim and Rawa have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”.

Iraqi army announced the total recapture of the town of Annah and neighboring Rayhana area last month. Troops also liberated Akashat region, between Rutba town, on borders with Jordan, and Qaim, on borders with Syria.

Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them in 2015 and 2016.

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