On November 23, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) captured 56 villages in the al-Jazeera region, which is located in the Saladin-Nineveh-Anbar triangle, according to the PMU media wing.
The Iraqi Army and PMU also captured the Geneva airport located south of the town of Hatar. Moreover, government forces captured the bridges of al-Sukariat, al-Akarb and al-Bka in the Tharthar valley in the eastern part of the al-Jazeera region.
Iraqi forces launch a major offensive to flush Islamic State group fighters out of a desert region near the border with Syria pic.twitter.com/oqXgnztc15
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 23, 2017
During its advance, the Iraqi Army destroyed 8 vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) of ISIS and captured 3 others. Government troops also killed several ISIS fighters, destroyed 4 vehicles and several mortar positions of ISIS.
From its side, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claimed that two suicide bombers targeted a gathering of the PMU fighters’ north of Baiji city in the eastern part of the al-Jazeera region. However, Amaq didn’t report any other attacks against government forces, which could mean that ISIS defense in al-Jazeera collapsed.
Thousands of ISIS fighters are believed to be trapped in the al-Jazeera region. However, al-Jazeera is impossible to defend as most of it is an empty sand desert. Due to this, the Iraqi Army and the PMU will formally liberate al-Jazeera in the upcoming weeks, if not days.