Iraqi forces attack Daesh outpost ahead of Euphrates push
Iraqi forces attacked a desert outpost of the Daesh terror group near the Syrian border on Saturday in preparation for a drive up the Euphrates Valley towards the frontier, commanders said.
The assault targeted the former mining town of Akashat, in Anbar Province, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Daesh’s border bastion of Al-qaim, according to AFP.
Al-qaim and the Euphrates towns of Rawa and Anna downstream form just one of two enclaves still held by Daesh in Iraq after a string of battlefield defeats this year.
“The army, the Hashed alshaabi (Popular Mobilization Force) and the border guard launched a major operation to liberate Akashat… and secure the border to its north,” said the head of Joint Operations Command, General Abdelamir Yarallah.
Iraqi commanders estimate there are no more than 300 civilian families left in Akashat, a former railhead that was once a major source of phosphate production.
Imed Meshaal, mayor of Rutba, a desert town further south recaptured from Daesh last year, said the terrorists had turned the area into a major hub for arms caches, training camps and command centers.
Iraqi commanders say they estimate Daesh still has more than 1,500 terrorists in its Alqaim enclave.
The Takfiris also control a second enclave west of the ethnically divided Kurdishheld city of Kirkuk, centered on the town of Hawija.