In light of their successful advancement in western Mosul, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have turned some of their attention to clearing the Hamrin Basin located in Diyala province.
Although the militants no longer control any territory here, many of their fighters remain in the surrounding countryside, able to launch attacks in the regions Diyala and Kirkuk where the group continues to control the town of Hawija. The ISF have hopes to liberate Hawija fully following the projected victory in Mosul before the holy month of Ramadan.
Diyala province is situated on the east of Iraq, which is connected to the provinces of Salah al-Din and Kirkuk via the Hemrin hills. The region has proved to be a sensitive region that can erupt quickly if the militants are allowed to continue staging attacks here, which is why the ISF must project power and have a strong presence there.
Earlier this week troops of the fifth division of the Iraqi army have advanced today with air support. This is part of a military campaign which has been launched from 3 fronts, including the bridge of Nareen, as well as the villages of Shanshal and Ain Laila. This resulted in the killing of five ISIS militants, the destruction of Aisha camp as well as two ISIS cars.
The troops of the 19th Brigade had the greatest role in the campaign who advanced long distances on foot in an area stretching from the Najana area towards the Bridge of Nareen. Speaking of this operation one military official says, “this campaign was very successful. We have destroyed several sites of ISIS which used to hold various types of equipment such as bombs and mortars used by the enemy, not to mention IEDs to block the progress of our division”.
In all, despite the obstacles placed by militants, the ISF have continued to make successful advances not only in Mosul, but also in Diyala and Anbar provinces.