BAGHDAD – Iraqi forces recaptured late on Sunday, a military airport and 25 villages in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk from Daesh terrorists, according to an Iraqi military source.
The country’s army forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi [a unit of the Iraqi army] have liberated Al-Fateh Airport and 25 villages, Army Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir Yarullah told Anadolu Agency.
On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the launch of the second phase of ongoing operations aimed at recapturing Hawija.
In a televised statement, al-Abadi had vowed to “liberate every inch of Iraq and crush the Daesh terror gangs once and for all”.
Yarullah, who is commanding the operation, said earlier in a statement that the campaign’s second phase was aimed at retaking the district center and several outlying villages.
Along with Kirkuk’s Hawija district, Daesh’s rapidly diminishing presence in the country is now largely confined to the towns of Rawa and Al-Qaim in Iraq’s western Anbar province near the Syrian border.
After overrunning vast territories in both Iraq and Syria in mid-2014, Daesh has recently suffered a string of decisive defeats at the hands of the Iraqi army.
Last month, the group was driven from Tal Afar in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province. One month earlier, the northern city of Mosul — once the capital of Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” — fell to the army after a nine-month siege.