The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are cooperating with local tribes to eliminate the final remnants of ISIS in the Anbar desert.
In order to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS remnants in Iraq, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) in Anbar Province have launched an operation in coordination with local tribes to hunt down sleeper cells. Recently, ISIS sleeper cells have attacked several people in the Anbar desert causing concern amongst locals who fear that security in their area may be deteriorating.
“The sporadic and scattered gatherings in the desert and remote areas still possess a potential military threat,” said Ghanem al-A’yfan, an Iraqi security expert. “This is what we have seen these days through some attacks carried out against civilians and security forces in remote areas.”
This prompted the ISF and PMU to deploy a trained tactical regiment to protect the civilians and dismantle remaining sleeper cells.
“The tactical regiment is ready after being trained by Coalition Forces and equipped by the Iraqi Interior Ministry,” said Lieutenant Tareq al-Asal, the vice deputy of the Popular Mobilisation Units in Anbar Province. “The regiment will perform its duties in the desert and was linked to the aerial reconnaissance.”
To properly establish security in the province, the ISF has also contacted local tribes who announced their willingness to aid in the clearing of the desert areas.
“If the tribes were called, we will organise huge tribal crowds and attack ISIS pockets in the desert,” said Ayed Khalaf al-Shammari, a tribal leader in Anbar. “We offer all that we have to assist the security forces.”
The inclusion of the tribal forces in operation is an attempt by the security forces to create local anti-ISIS groups, as local forces have been shown to provide strong security for their areas, especially as they are trusted by the locals.
With this agreement between security and tribal forces, the Iraqi Government is attempting to take the necessary measures to defeat the militant group’s sleeper cells and gain the local’s trust to build a stronger more inclusive country.