Iraqi forces launch anti-IS operation near border with Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-16 16:02:24|Editor: Song Lifang
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BAGHDAD, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi forces on Saturday launched an operation to clear the desert area near the border with Syria from the Islamic State (IS) militants, the Iraqi military said.

The Iraqi army, paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces and the border guards force advanced in the vast desert area to free the industrial village of Akashat and to clear the road to the village and the nearby border areas, which is part of Iraq's western province of Anbar, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a brief statement.

Akashat is located in northwest of the city of Rutba, some 370 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. It has a population of around 5,000 and was built as an industrial village in 1985, attached to the local phosphate quarry and administered by the ministry of industry. The phosphate production was seriously disrupted by the UN sanctions after 1991 and the 2003 war. It is currently stopped from working by the presence of IS group.

The Iraqi forces announced the frequency of a radio to broadcast the news and instructions to the residents of the towns and villages in the area, JOC said in another statement.

The Iraqi aircraft also dropped thousands of leaflets on the area of Akashat and the nearby cities of Aana, Rawa and al-Qaim near the border with Syria to inform the people that the liberation is soon and to tell IS militants to choose either to surrender to the Iraqi forces and get a fair trial or the death by the security forces, the JOC statement said.

Earlier, the Iraqi security forces dislodged IS militants from the key cities of Anbar province, including Ramadi and the nearby Fallujah, but the areas near the border with neighboring Syria, including Aana, Rawa and al-Qaim as well as the vast rural areas across the province are still under the control of the extremist IS militants.