Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

After Fallujah, Anbar, Iraqi Forces Prepare to Secure Syrian Borders | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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ISIS fighters have set up checkpoints and prepared ambushes to prevent people from leaving [Reuters]

Ramadi – Anbar Provincial Council has announced the completion of its preparations for a major military operation to liberate areas west of Anbar, in addition to securing the borders with Syria.

Council’s spokesperson Eid Ammash told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that preparations are ongoing prior to liberating areas west of Anbar especially areas on the borders with Syria.

He added that it is crucial to secure the Iraqi-Syrian borders and cut-off reinforcement to ISIS through Syrian territories.

Ammash added that thousands of families are still sieged by ISIS in Anah, Rawa, and al-Qa’im and it is very important to liberate the cities.

Iraqi military units continue to liberate al-Khalidiya Island between Fallujah city and Ramadi. Meanwhile, head of Anbar Military Operations, General Ismail al-Mahlawi announced that over three thousand civilians have been evacuated from the area.

Mahlawi added that army formations continue to advance to liberate all cities and villages in Khalidiya island despite resistance from ISIS terrorists.

General Mahalwi reported that during the liberation operations, unit of Troop 10 of the army fought with ISIS leading to the death of Khamis al-Mohamadi.

Khalidiya island is the last ISIS stronghold in the west of Ramadi and is known for its strategic location.

Shall the Iraqi Forces succeed in recapturing the island, they will be able to control the highway from Ramadi to Baghdad through Fallujah.

Head of Anbar Tribes Troops Lieutenant Tarek al-Asal said that Anbar will always be threatened by ISIS if the desert areas from Ramadi to Syrian borders weren’t liberated.

He added that Tribal Troops, Army Units, and the police are all fighting the attacks that will end as soon as the major military operation is launched.

Asal hoped that liberating the desert will lead to an ISIS-free district.

Council Member Rajeh al-Issawi said that local government of Anbar has called, and on several occasions, for the initiation of operations to liberate the Anbar desert. He added every time they demanded that from the Commander of Chief of the Armed forces, they were met with arguments that only lead to losses.

Issawi added that this has to be dealt with seriously and that it is important to cut-off ISIS reinforcements that will cause a threat to Iraq as whole, not just Anbar.

Council Member explained that Anbar compromises one-third of Iraq’s area and is mostly composed of deserts with lots of hills that became safe havens for ISIS terrorists. He added that it is important to form a force that is fully equipped and specialized in dealing with terrorist locations.