Iraqi forces and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd al-Sha’abi) advance towards Daesh terrotist group’s stronghold of Hawijah on October 1, 2017 in their ongoing battle to recapture the town from the extremists. (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have managed to regain control over more than a dozen villages west of Mosul as they engage in joint military
operations with army troops to purge Daesh Takfiri terrorists
out of their last bastion in the country’s oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk.
The media bureau of Iraq
’s Badr Organization announced in a statement that the pro-government forces, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, had establish full control over 18 villages, including Abdul Aziz, Sayyed Hassoun, al-Saan, Mulla Nasif, Tar al-Hamar, Kordarah, Tal Khadija, Al-Fashka, al-Sakhour and Dukmat.
The statement added that Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had also recaptured Heynas airbase.
Meanwhile, a local source, requesting anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that a high-ranking Daesh militant commander had been killed in fierce clashes with Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters.
The source identified the slain terrorist as Abu Bilal al-Masri, better known by the nom de guerre al-Hummer. He was reportedly adept at using rocket-propelled grenades to target the Iraqi military’s Humvees.
Mass grave of army, security personnel found south of Hawijah
Separately, pro-government Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters and members of the Federal Police force have discovered a mass grave south of Hawijah.
The grisly discovery was made on the outskirts of the recently-liberated al-Zarban village. The grave contained the remains of dozens of army and police conscripts.
Iraqi forces and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd al-Sha’abi) hold a position as they advance towards Daesh terrorist group’s stronghold of Hawijah on September 30, 2017 in their ongoing battle to recapture the town from the extremists. (Photo by AFP)
Daesh torches oil wells near Hawijah
Moreover, Daesh militants
have set fire to three oil wells near Hawijah, located 45 kilometers west of Kirkuk.
Military and oil officials said on Monday that security forces were using bulldozers to control the fires started by the militants two days earlier.
Officials said the fire had been brought under control at one of the wells, while the other two are still burning. They said it would take about three days to put out the fires.
Oil officials from the state-run North Oil Company said it was still too risky to send its crew members in to assess damage at the wells as militants may have left landmines and hidden bombs.
Daesh Takfiris torched the oil wells in the early hours of Saturday in a bid to slow the advance of Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters toward Hawijah.
In this file photo, Iraqi firemen are seen working with oil company representatives to extinguish the oil wells set ablaze by Daesh Takfiri terrorists in in Qayyarah, Iraq. (Photo by Getty Images)
The Allas oilfield, situated 35 kilometers (20 miles) south of Hawijah, once served as one of the main sources of revenue for Daesh terrorists.
“Terrorists are trying to use the rising smoke to avert air strikes while retreating from the area towards Hawijah,” army Colonel Mohammed al-Jabouri said.
Military officials said the fire had been brought under control at one of the wells, while the other two were still burning. They said it would take about three days to put out the fires. Oil officials from the state-run North Oil Company said it was still too risky to send its crews in to assess damage at the wells as militants may have left bombs and landmines.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on September 29 announced the start of the second phase of an offensive to liberate Hawijah from the grip of Daesh Takfiris.
“We announce the start of the second phase of the liberation of Hawijah and all the surrounding areas to the west of Kirkuk, and as promised the sons of our country are continuing to liberate every inch of the land of Iraq and crush the gangs of the Daesh terrorist group,” said Abadi in a statement.
The first phase of the operation to liberate Hawijah was launched on September 21.
The operation to free Hawijah came as tensions are running high between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after the region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas, including Kirkuk, from the rest of the Iraqi territory.