Flashpoints

Iraqi forces begin operation against ISIS along Syrian border

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s security and paramilitary forces began Sunday a military operation along the border with Syria aimed at clearing the area of Islamic State group militants, the military said in a statement.

Although Iraq declared victory against ISIS in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and have carried out deadly attacks in the country.

The military said the operation that began at sunrise was being carried out by Iraqi troops and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces that largely consist of Iran-backed militias.

In this May 31, 2019, file photo, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces march in Baghdad, Iraq. (Khalid Mohammed/AP)
Iraq moves to limit influence of Iran-backed militias

Iraq’s government moved Monday night to control powerful Iran-backed militias in the country, placing them under the full command of the Iraqi armed forces.

It said the operation will last several days and was the first phase of the Will of Victory Operation securing the western 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,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi using an Arabic acronym to refer to ISIS. “May God protect you and make you victorious.”

ISIS once held large parts of Syria and Iraq where it declared a caliphate in 2014. The extremists lost in March the last territory they controlled in Syria.

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