The Hawija operation is heading towards its final phase. Roughly one-third of the Hawija district remained under Islamic State control, and at the current pace that could be freed in just a few days.
The Iraqi forces have made steady progress since September 30. The Alas and Ajeel oil fields in Salahaddin were said to be taken after two days of fighting. IS set 34 wells on fire to cover its retreat from air strikes. 26 villages in the Hawija district were freed as well by the Federal Police, the Rapid Reaction units, and the Hashd.
October 1 the joint forces continued to move to the south of Hawija city. Anther 28 villages were seized along with the southern tip of the Hamrin Mountains, and all of the Makhoul Mountains were declared under control.
By the third day two-thirds of the Hawija operation was completed. 46 villages were liberated. The government forces were still moving through the Makhoul Mountains and the militants pulled out of the Alas field setting more oil wells on fire, this despite the announcements both had been freed in the previous days. Deputy Hashd commander Abu Mahdi Muhandis said that the Hashd had gone through the last third of the Hamrin Mountains. A mass grave with executed soldiers and police was also discovered. At the end of the three days all that was left was the last third of the Hawija district in the east. With the fast advance the Iraqis have been making that last section could be taken in just two to three days.
Al Forat News, “Daash set three oil wells on fire near Hawija,” 10/2/17
- “Urgent Yarallah: the liberation of 26 villages in Hawija,” 9/30/17
Al Ghad Press, “The Joint Forces liberate 3 villages in Hawija and control the Makhoul mountain range,” 10/1/17
- “Yarallah: Security forces raised the Iraqi flag over more than 25 villages in Hawija,” 9/30/17
Al Maalomah, “Abu Muhandis announces control of the last third of the Hamrin Mountains and rush towards Hawija from four sides,” 10/2/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Military media : Iraqi forces retake 28 villages near Hawija,” Iraqi News, 10/1/17
M-“UPDATED: Iraqi forces retake major area near IS-held Hawija,” Iraqi News, 10/2/17
Mostafa, Nehal, “Mass grave of security personnel found south of Hawija,” Iraqi News, 10/2/17
Xinhua, “Iraqi forces continue push to besiege IS stronghold in Hawijah,” 10/1/17
- “Iraqi forces recapture town in 2nd phase of offensive to free Hawijah from IS,” 10/2/17
- “Iraqi forces seize oil fields in offensive to free Hawijah from IS,” 10/1/17