Iraqi forces, Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters purge villages north of Baghdad of Daesh
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Iraqi forces, Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters purge villages north of Baghdad of Daesh

The media bureau of the volunteer fighters, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, announced in a statement on Sunday that they, together with government troops, had cleansed four villages, including al-Anaz, Arab Rashid Mahmoud and Arab As’af, in al-Moshahedah region of the extremists following multi-pronged military operations there.   Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters and army soldiers had earlier purged fifteen villages surrounding Tarmiyah town, located about 25 kilometers north of Baghdad, of Daesh militants.   Also on Sunday, pro-government Iraqi forces could wipe Daesh Takfiri terrorists off Basatin ‘Awad and Hurrah districts west of Tarmiyah.   Second-in-Command of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah, said in a statement on Saturday that Iraqi military forces had launched the second phase of a major operation to hunt down the remnants of the Daesh terror group north of Baghdad and areas nearby.   The statement noted that the offensive aims to “to beef up security and stability in areas north of Baghdad and surrounding areas in the provinces of Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar.”   It said that units from the Baghdad Operations Command, command operations from Diyala, Samarra and Anbar, the Federal Police Command, rapid response teams, voluntary Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters and the special forces regiment of the Operations Department of the Chief of Staff of the Army as well as the Special Task Force of the Directorate of Military Intelligence were participating in the offensive.   Iraq's army and the voluntary forces began the first phase of the Will of Victory Operation early on July 7, the military said in a statement, adding that the operation would last several days and was aimed at securing the province of Anbar and the central and northern regions of Salahuddin and Nineveh.   “We press on the hands of our heroic forces that will achieve victory with the will of its heroes against the gangs of Daesh,” Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said.   “May God protect you and make you victorious,” he added.   Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the country on December 9, 2017.   On July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ last main urban stronghold in Iraq.   In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.   Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.  

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