Alwaght- Iraqi armed forces said on Saturday they had started an offensive to dislodge ISIS terrorist group from an area on the border with Syria south of the Euphrates River.
The offensive in the Akashat region, which has natural gas reserves, is meant to pave the way for the seizure of terrorist-held towns in the Euphrates river valley, including the border post of al-Qaim, military statements said.
Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Yarallah stated on Saturday that the offensive to liberate the town of Akashat, located 420 kilometers west of Baghdad, was aimed at securing border regions and the area north of the vital highway that links the Iraqi capital to neighboring Jordan and Syria.
Meanwhile, the media bureau of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Shaabi, announced in a statement that “all the goals set for the first phase of Akashat liberation operation have been achieved in record time.”
The statement added that pro-government volunteer fighters were engaged in an operation to secure the Iraqi-Syrian border and purge it of ISIS Takfiris.
Ahmed al-Asadi, the official spokesman for PMF, said army soldiers, PMF fighters and members of the Iraqi border police forces have started the operation to retake Akashat from four directions.
The towns in the border region with Syria and Hawija, a northern province close to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, are the only urban centers still under ISIS control in Iraq.
Last week, the Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadisi said it has liberated over 90 percent of the country’s territory from ISIS Takfiri terrorist group. The government also said more than 2.2 million of refugees have returned to the country’s areas retaken from ISIS terrorists.