DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:40 P.M.) – On Wednesday afternoon, ISIS insurgents breached the Iraqi Army’s frontline positions in western Nineveh (northwestern Iraq) and promptly burnt a camp to the ground before withdrawing from the area with spoils of war.
The attack took place in the desert south of Al-Qairawan, a government-held city that was liberated over the summer, and saw an ISIS convoy bring with them jihadist foot soldiers who threw grenades, launched anti-tank missiles and opened fire upon an outpost controlled by the Iraqi Army and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU):
Facing overwhelming odds in terms of personnel and firepower, ISIS has largely abandoned the idea of actual offensives, turning instead to daily hit-and-run assaults to harass the Iraqi Armed Forces and inflict as many casualties upon government forces as possible.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Prime Minister announced on Thursday morning that the long-awaited operation to retake the Hawija region had begun. Hours later, the PMU, Iraqi Army and Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi Hezbollah wing) captured their first villages in Kirkuk province.
In addition to its border territories in Anbar and Nineveh, the Islamic State still controls an enclave of territory in central Iraq that is centered around the Sunni city of Hawija.
Click here for a map providing better strategic understanding of the aforementioned frontlines.