Stabilisation operations are ongoing in Iraq as the Iraqi Air Force and Iraqi Army root out ISIS cells in the provinces of Salahuddin and Kirkuk.
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have gathered a large amount of intelligence that were once under ISIS’ control after penetrating and dismantling a vast ISIS network in Salahuddin and Kirkuk Provinces in a recent operation. This operation resulted in the arrest of all members in the network and the seizure of large amounts of weapons and ammunitions.
In the nearby province of Nineveh, the Iraqi Army, in coordination with the Iraqi Air Force, also launched several operations to discover and destroy ISIS hideouts.
The operations form part of a wider series of stabilisation and security efforts by the ISF following the defeat of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq in December 2017.
“The military intelligence of the Iraqi Army’s 10th Division was able to arrest an ISIS security member who was providing these gangs with important information about our military units and movements,” said a Brigadier General in the Iraqi Army, discussing the arrest of Abu Hassan Afri, the ISIS commander for the Sinjar and Qayrawan areas, two areas in northern Iraq. “Furthermore, [our forces] were able to reach a hideout of weapons and [discover] important documents related to ISIS’ organisational matters and their collaborators.”
The Jazira Operations Command, which is responsible for the security operations in the western desert region, said that its forces had launched a pre-emptive operation in the Hamrin Mountains that led to the arrest and killing of dozens of ISIS militants who were hiding in the mountainous terrain.
While the operations were successful in discovered and dismantling many cells, the ISF says they need more support to cut down on cells hiding deep within the mountains.
“They have the ability to hide in caves in the western desert region. It’s difficult to detect their presence by ground forces, and we have to rely on aircraft,” said a general in the Iraqi Air Force.