Iraqi forces launch 4th phase of major anti-IS offensive in western Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-24 22:14:22|Editor: xuxin
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BAGHDAD, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Saturday launched the fourth phase of a major offensive to hunt down remnants of Islamic State (IS) militants in the desert of Iraq's western province of Anbar, the Iraqi military said.

A statement by the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said that under the direction of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, the troops at dawn started the fourth phase of the offensive dubbed "Victory Will" to clear Anbar's desert and other areas in the province from IS remnants.

A joint force from the Iraqi army, police, and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units carried out the operation with air support from the Iraqi and the U.S.-led coalition aircraft, the JOC statement said.

The result of the fourth phase of the offensive is to be announced later by the JOC, it added.

In July, Iraqi forces, backed by the Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition aircraft, conducted the first and second phases of the "Victory Will," aimed at securing areas in the north of Baghdad and the provinces of Anbar, Salahudin and Nineveh.

The troops concluded the third phase of the major offensive in the provinces of Nineveh and Diyala on Aug. 5.

The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.

IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.