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Iraq controls 50% of the desert, but the battle against the jihadists continues

Ⓒ AFP – – | Iraqi soldiers guard a position in the western desert of their country, near the Syrian border, on Sunday November 26

Iraqi forces have “cleared” half of the desert, from which they have expelled the jihadists, but must prepare for a tough battle in Wadi Horan, where there are still strongholds of the Islamic State (IS) group, a senior official said Monday.

“Our units have cleared 50% of the total desert area of ​​about 29,000 km2, the first phase is over and now our units are going to clean up the rest of the desert areas,” General Yehya Rasul told AFP on Monday. , spokesman of the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

Among the areas that remain to be “cleaned” is that of Wadi Horan, a “deep” valley that “joins with Syrian territory,” Rasul added. “The mission is to destroy all the hiding places in the desert and the valleys to guarantee security on the western border of Iraq with Syria,” the general explained.

According to the military, this will allow the Iraqi border guards to control the border. Wadi Horam, the longest valley in Iraq, is largely in the hands of IS since 2014.

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