The west Anbar campaign was on pause once again. The routine has been for the Iraqi forces to take a town, and then spend time to clear it and the surrounding roads and highways of explosives. That is going on now. The Islamic State also executed its governor for Ana and 27 of his followers accusing them of fleeing the battle. Next up for the joint forces are Rawa and Qaim in northwest Anbar, and then to sweep down the border region.
After most of the left coast of the Shirqat district was freed the Iraqi forces moved onto the perimeter of Hawija. Federal Police commander General Raed Shakir Jawadat said that 90% of Shirqat was under government control, and 234 IS fighters had been killed. His forces then moved on 9 villages in the southern section of the district, the Hashd advanced on Zarga and the Hamrin Mountains along the Salahaddin-Kirkuk border. The Rapid Reaction Forces and Hashd attacked Zab freeing several towns. By September 24, the Joint Operations Command announced the Zab River region, the area around Zawiya, the northern part of the Makhoul Mountains and several villages west of the Tigris were all in the government’s hands. The plan has been to take Shirqat, and then move onto Hawija proper. The former is almost done, and now the joint forces are taking the outskirts of Hawija before taking on the town itself.
Despite all the heated rhetoric about the up coming Kurdish referendum, the Peshmerga and army reached an agreement about Hawija. Meetings were held under the auspices of the U.S. led Coalition. The two sides agreed that the joint forces would conduct operation in south Kirkuk and the Kurds would send troops if needed. Peshmerga artillery would also assist with the operation, and the Kurds would take in displaced and hold their current positions to the north. Originally, it was hoped that the two would assault Hawija from north and south in a pincer movement, but that quickly faded as controversy over the referendum spread. At least a deal was made so that the two wouldn’t conflict with each other.
Baghdad Post, “234 ISIS terrorists killed in operation to recapture Shirqat,” 9/24/17
Bas News, “Peshmerga, Iraqi Army Reach Agreement on Hawija Battle,” 9/24/17
Al Forat News, “Liberate the entire Zawiya area and raise the Iraqi flag over its buildings,” 9/24/17
Al Ghad Press, “The federal police liberated 9 villages south of Shirqat city,” 9/23/17
- “Jawadat announces Federal Police control 90% of Shirqat area,” 9/23/17
- “Rapid Reaction Forces move towards Zab to end third stage of liberation of Hawija,” 9/23/17
- “The security forces in Anbar confirm the liberation of the areas of the Upper Euphrates in the direction of Al-Qaim,” 9/23/17
Iraq Newspaper, “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter: The Liberation Of New Villages Saturday Afternoon,” 9/23/17
Al Maalomah, “The crowd frees two villages west of Hawija,” 9/23/17
Al Mirbad, “The crowd completes the clearing of three villages west Kirkuk,” 9/23/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraqi forces end phase 1 of Hawija offensive: command,” Iraqi News, 9/24/17
Rudaw, “Peshmerga work with Hashd for southern advance into Hawija,” 9/23/17
Al Sumaria, “The security forces begin the process of liberation Zarga in Al-Tuz from three axes,” 9/23/17
Waradana, “Daash executed the governor of Ana and his followers after fleeing Anbar,” 9/23/17