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Iran Press TV

Iraqi army forces, allies achieve fresh territorial gains near Hawijah

Iran Press TV

Sat Sep 30, 2017 01:16PM

Iraqi government forces, backed by allied fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, have registered more territorial gains near the town of Hawijah as they continue their joint operations to push Daesh Takfiri terrorists out of their last stronghold in the country's oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk.

The commander of the Hawijah liberation operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Saturday that army troops, soldiers from the Federal Police Force, the Interior Ministry's elite rapid response forces and pro-government fighters, better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi, had liberated 26 villages, including al-Ahnaf, al-Tariqiyah, al-Arsah, al-Mutawakiliyah, Tal al-Lahm, al-Ja'fariyah and al-Sa'adiyah, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

Yarallah added that army soldiers and their allies also reclaimed control over the villages of al-Waridiyah, al-Sabti, Upper al-Hawaij, Lower al-Hawaij, Upper Tal al-Zahab, Lower Tal al-Zahab, al-Suwaid, Tal Ubaid, Tal Saeid and Albu Sakhrah.

The report came a day after Iraqi forces completely retook 11 villages, including Gharib, al-Karnah, al-Hajamah, al-Shajarah and Namilah.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday announced the start of the second phase of an offensive to liberate Hawijah from the grip of Daesh Takfiris.

"We announce the start of the second phase of the liberation of Hawijah and all the surrounding areas to the west of Kirkuk, and as promised the sons of our country are continuing to liberate every inch of the land of Iraq and crush the gangs of the Daesh terrorist group," said Abadi in a statement.

The first phase of the operation to liberate Hawijah was launched on September 21.

The operation to free Hawijah came as tensions are running high between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after the region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas, including Kirkuk, from the rest of the Iraqi territory.

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