Baghdad: Iraqi forces on Thursday launched an offensive to retake the desert areas bordering Syria from the Islamic State (IS).
In a Facebook post, the Joint Operations Command said this was the second phase of the offensive aimed at liberating the Upper Euphrates region, located between the provinces of Saladin, Nineveh and Anbar, reports Efe news.
On Tuesday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said victory over the IS would be announced “soon”.
“We defeated IS from a military perspective. Our offensives to clear the desert regions are ongoing and we will declare victory very soon.”
Last week, the Iraqi forces seized Rawa, the last major IS-held town in the western part of Anbar province.
Over the past year, Iraqi troops, backed by the US-led international coalition, have recaptured almost all areas under IS control, including the northern city of Mosul, the group’s former bastion in Iraq.