The multi-front campaign to rid Iraq of the last bastions of the Islamic State made more progress. Shirqat in northern Salahaddin was freed, the Iraqi forces were clearing the latest gains in Anbar, while Hawija was pending.
After Ana was freed, the Iraqi forces were removing IEDs from the area. Ana was liberated on September 22. The Islamic State put up nominal resistance, but many of its fighters fled west towards Rawa. The Iraqi forces were then busy clearing IEDs from the area and the roads. This has been the routine in previous towns taken. That’s because the goal is to not only take the remaining villages in west Anbar, but the highways as well.
Shirqat and Hawija are a combined operation. Shirqat was liberated, along with 19 towns. The Federal Police said that 60% of the district was now under government control. General Raed Shakir Jawadat claimed 135 IS were killed during the fighting. Like in Anbar, the militants have not fought that hard so far. Shirqat and Hawija neighbor each other. The Iraqi forces plan on taking the former first, and then moving full force into Hawija. That’s when IS could really startstiffening up its defenses. Then again, they could scatter and flee like they did in Tal Afar.
Agence France Presse, “Iraq forces oust IS from northern town in drive on Hawija,” 9/22/17
Al Mada, “Quiet battles in western Anbar and concern on the Hawija front,” 9/22/17
Mostafa, Nehal, “Iraqi joint troops regain more villages in western Shirqat,” Iraqi News, 9/22/17
Shafaaq News, “Break into the center of Shirqat and remove the Daash banners,” 9/22/17
Sputnik News, “Iraqi Federal Police: control 60% of areas in Salahadin and liberation of 30 villages,” 9/22/17
Waradana, “The Federal Police announced the killing of 135 members of Daash in the battles for Shirqat,” 9/22/17
Xinhua, “Iraqi forces recapture 39 villages from IS militants near Hawijah,” 9/22/17