Iraqi forces at­tack Daesh out­post ahead of Euphrates push

Iran Daily - - International -

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.

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