BAGHDAD, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi security forces launched Wednesday a major offensive to hunt down Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar and border areas with neighboring Syria and Jordan, the Iraqi military said.
The Iraqi forces, backed by Iraqi and U.S.-led international aircraft, started at dawn the first phase of the major offensive, dubbed Operation Heroes of Iraq, Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah, deputy commander of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said in a statement.
The troops pushed in five routes to clear 26,238 square km of areas of the remnants of IS militants and to promote the stability across the province, the statement added.
"Iraqi warplanes of F-16 and Sukhoi began flying at very low altitudes in the operation's areas and nearby city centers in response to the requirements of ongoing operation," the statement said without giving further details.
Late in 2017, Iraq declared full liberation of its territories from IS militants after Iraqi forces seized the whole border areas with Syria and nearby desert in western Iraq.
However, small groups or individuals of IS militants still try to infiltrate into Iraq from neighboring Syria through the roughly 600 km long border with vast rugged areas and desert land.