Iraq News

Western Anbar desert secured against ISIS: Joint Operations Command

By Khalid al-Taie


An Iraqi soldier takes position in western Anbar during a security campaign to clear the desert of 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' remnants in this photo posted online October 21st. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Defence Ministry]

Western Anbar province's desert has been secured against the threat of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants, Iraq's Joint Operations Command announced Wednesday (November 21st).

"Security forces are achieving great successes through ongoing security campaigns deep in the desert in western Anbar, along the border strip with Syria," command spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasul told Diyaruna.

Proactive, quality attacks have contributed to defeating ISIS remnants, striking at their logistical capabilities, cutting all their supply lines of arms and fighters, and preventing them from receiving any kind of support, he said.

"Our drones and the rest of our reconnaissance activities monitor the [western] desert around the clock," he said, adding that it is now "well-secured, and the borders are closed".

Forces from the al-Jazeera Operations, the army and tribes constantly carry out joint security campaigns against the militants, Rasul said, adding that they have recently destroyed sites that contained large quantities of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), shells and rockets.

The explosives and weapons found in these sites are collected and detonated in safe locations in order to prevent ISIS elements from getting their hands on them again, he said.

Iraqi forces aim to prevent the militants from fleeing the desert and finding safe havens in mountainous or other desert areas, "especially in western Salaheddine province and the Ninawa desert".

The international coalition on November 10th launched airstrikes in the Atshana mountain range west of Mosul, killing 14 ISIS elements who were hiding in four different locations, said Rasul.

Iraqi forces are today working "with unswerving determination" to cleanse the country of ISIS remnants, he said.

"We will leave them no room to resume their criminal activities and rebuild their capabilities," he added.

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