Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says taht Iraqi forces have freed the strategic town of Hawijah, expeling the “Daesh”, backed by Saudi Arabia, outfit of its last bastion in the northern part of the Arab state.
Speaking from the French capital, Paris on Thursday, Abadi said, “I declare the freedom of the city of Hawijah,” adding, “Only the outskirts remain to be held.”
The premier described the latest gain as a “victory not just of Iraq but of the entire world.”
The declaration followed a statement by the Iraqi military, which read that the center of Hawijah, located in Iraq’s oil-rich Kirkuk Province, is once agin under government control.
Iraqi forces “freed the entire of the center of Hawijah and are continuing their advance,” said the operation’s leader, Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Yarallah.
The operation, which first started on September 21, features Iraqi army forces and police forces, backed by volunteer fighters of Popular Mobilization Units, the so- called known Hashd al-Sha’abi.
The recapture puts an end to Daesh presence in northern Iraq and leaves the group in control of a stretch of land in the west near the Syrian border, including the town of al-Qaim.