On Thursday, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) captured 30 villages in Hawija area south of Kirkuk city, and in the Western Shirqat area west of Hawija area, according to the PMU media wing.
The army and the PMU captured following the villages: Hamad Sater, Bsherauah, Kanus al-Imam, Kanus al-Khamesat, Rahiem Shalal, al-Lazakhah, Amterah, Shander al-Awliah, Wadi al-Shawak, al-Adalah, Ali Kawah, Sherdah, Sunaj, al-Suqrah, Sunaj al-Kubrah, Fuh, Hasawrk, Khrbani, al-Swrah, Ajamiliah, Hijil, Shikh Hamad, al-Mashhad, Awijlah, al-Sulman, al-Safenah, Hayawi al-Shamali, Fatimah, Huster Lalwk, Khirbani.
Government forces killed 61 ISIS fighters and destroyed 2 VBIEDs of ISIS during its advance. Moreover, Iraqi Air Force warplanes destroyed several headquarters and positions of ISIS north of the Western Shirqat area, according to the PMU media wing.
The PMU also announced that it evacuated dozens of civilian families from Western Shirqat to safe areas under the Iraqi forces control.
Meanwhile, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claimed that ISIS fighters attacked positions of the Iraqi forces in Dibis town north of Baiji city. Amaq claimed that ISIS fighters killed 12 Iraqi soldiers and destroyed 7 positions and 3 vehicles.
Furthermore, Amaq claimed that the ISIS fighters cut off the Baghdad-Mosul highway for hours during the attack. However Iraqi sources denied that the highway was closed due to the attack.
As expected the ISIS defense in Hawija and Western Shirqat areas is rapidly collapsing. Iraqi forces will likely be able to capture the entire area within a month or even less if ISIS isn’t hiding any surprises.