DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:05 P.M.) – The operation to liberate Rawa town has begun, Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Yarallah said in a statement on Saturday morning as he addressed the last ISIS stronghold in Anbar Province, adding that government forces were to retake the adjacent Al-Ruman district as well.
With the entire M12 Highway between Al-Qaim and Baghdad restored under government control last week, the Iraqi Army – heavily backed by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – are poised to push north of the Euphrates River and eliminate the last remaining ISIS forces in the desert between Anbar and Nineveh.
Before undertaking this military endeavour, Iraqi forces have to expel ISIS from Rawa and Rumana, two Sunni towns anchored on the northern bank of the Euphrates River some 260 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.
Not long ago, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi held a speech in which he hailed Baghdad’s armed forces and spoke of a bright future lying ahead:
On the other hand, ISIS sleeper cells operating behind government lines still represent a force to be reckoned with. A brand new Islamic State propaganda video shows its snipers killing a dozen Iraqi troops in a rural region between Baghdad and Karbala.
A map depicting the current frontline in Iraq can be found here.