Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi joint troops managed to comb over thirty villages within the second part of operations at Upper Euphrates and Jazirah region, the military media said.
In a statement on Friday, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of Upper Euphrates and Jazira Combing Operations, said the pro-government al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) managed to purge 35 villages and an area of 4,300 square kilometers.
“The operation comes within the second part of the second phase of operations to comb Jazirah and Upper Euphrates regions,” he added.
Iraqi joint troops started on Friday the second phase of military operations to comb the western desert, ahead of declaring the full liberation of Iraqi territories.
The operation seeks that troops meet in the desert between northern Nineveh and western Anbar in a road that stretches for 200 square kilometers, adjacent to borders with Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said in November that his country has defeated Islamic State over the military level, but will declare final victory after desert areas are purged of militants.
Brig. Gen. Yehia Rasool, spokesperson for the Joint Operations Command said in remarks last week that the second phase of operations to clear borders near Syria from Islamic State militants will launch soon. An area of 14,000 out of 29,000 square kilometers in the desert has been cleared by IS 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.