Iraqi Troops Advance Into Desert Amid Anti-ISIL Offensive Near Saudi Arabian Border


The Iraqi army’s chief of operations Major-General Mahmoud al-Falahi said the troops have started an operation to drive the ISIL from the desert areas of Anbar province, which borders Saudi Arabia.

“The army, police, tribal and border forces, backed by the international coalition, began this morning a large operation to clean the Anbar desert all the way down to the Iraqi-Saudi border,” al-Falahi added, Al-Sumariah TV channel reported.

The vast desert areas in the province have been used by ISIL militants since they fled the liberated cities of Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in mid-July declared victory over ISIL militants who had held Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city, since 2014. He has also declared in mid-November “military victory” over ISIL as all of the group’s bastions were recaptured.

ISIL began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraqi forces then launched operations to eliminate ISIL and retake lost territory.