On Thursday, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) captured ISIS last stronghold in Hawija area, al-Riyad town east of Kirkuk city, according to the PMU media wing. Iraqi government forces also captured the following 63 villages in the area:
al-Sulyman, Fadikha, al-Bakarah, al-Rumanah, al-Shaqirah, Shmlan, Farhan Hussien, al-Khan al-Thaniyah, Alloushah, Hamid Hardan, Hussien Sultan, Hassan Sultan, al-Musania’a al-Suflah, al-Musania’a al-Awliyah, al-Musania’a, Hammoud al-Tabl, Mohamad Hamid, Farhan Hassan, Ali Abulah Saleh, Saqirah al-Awliyah, Saqirah al-Suflah, al-Bua’aiyshah, al-Bujayish, al-Qurishi, Halawah, al-Khan, al-Wafiyah, al-Qudus, Saleh Ruban, al-Utibiyah, Tal al-Izam, al-Sharfiyah, Dughiylah, al-Mustafiyah, Rabzah, Azizi al-Bumufarij, Zidan Khalaf Ahmad, Azizi Tar Fadel, al-Manziylah, Umm Qasiyr, al-Syaha, al-Ayslaniyah, al-Imarah, Said Shihab, al-Mahumudiyah, Lazkat Al Hamiyd, Atshanah al-Suflah, al-Khazifi, Muratah al-Kabirah, Sayid Hassan, Arab Dawd Sulyman, al-Khalidiah Dawd Sulyman, Abu Kasah, Umm al-Duniyah, al-Rasuliyah, al-Salamiyah, al-Akulah, al-Najatiyah, Babujan, al-Hamadaniyah, Nikar al-Kabir, Nikar al-Jala’aw, Sin al-Ziban.
By this, Hawija area is now under the full control of the Iraqi Army. However, a security operation will likely continue in the liberated area to capture or kill the remaining ISIS fighters.
Government forces killed during its advance dozens of ISIS fighters including 2 snipers and 5 suicide attackers, and destroyed 3 VBIEDs of ISIS, according to the PMU media wing.
PMU military engineers are now removing IEDs and mines from the liberated areas, and reopening roads to allow civilians to go back to their houses.
The next target for government forces will be for sure ISIS last stronghold in Iraq, al-Qa’im city on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The military operation to capture al-Qa’im city will likely start very soon, as there is already a big force of the Iraqi Army and the PMU deployed there.