Anti-ISIS forces in Iraq to launch Hawija offensive

Anti-ISIS forces in Iraq to launch Hawija offensive

Iraqi and Kurdish forces are scheduled to launch an offensive on the city of Hawija today. The attack follows the

Iraqi security forces will launch an offensive to retake Hawija from ISIS

Photo: Reuters

Iraqi and Kurdish forces are scheduled to launch an offensive on the city of Hawija today. The attack follows the capture of Mosul in July and last month’s liberation of Tal Afar in Northern Iraq.

The offensive will be a coordinated attack by Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, Shi’ite paramilitary units and US forces. Tensions between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan have been on the rise recently, due to a Kurdish referendum for independence set to be held on September 25. The Kirkuk region, a major oil-producing province where Hawija is located, recently voted to participate in the referendum.

Since 2015, ISIS has lost approximately 60% of the territory it once held across Iraq and Syria. Hawija was captured in 2014 and is one of the final strongholds held by the terrorist group in Iraq.

A successful liberation of Hawija will leave ISIS restricted to small pockets in the western Anbar province, located on the Syrian border. Anti-ISIS forces will seek to capitalise on any momentum gained in the offensive. As such, expect an attack on western Anbar to be launched within the next few weeks.

Delve deeper: Pressure Building: What Next for ISIS?

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