Iraqi forces free IS-held town near Syria border

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Baghdad, Sep 17 (IANS) Iraqi security forces liberated Akashat town area and cleared the surrounding desert land from Islamic State (IS) militants near the border with Syria, the Iraqi military said.

The Iraqi army, paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces and the border guards on Saturday completely recaptured Akashat and reopened a nearby strategic road, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a brief statement.

The operation is still underway to clear more areas from IS militants in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, Yarallah said.

The latest advance is part of an operation launched in the early morning aimed at driving out IS militants from vast desert area to free the industrial village of Akashat and to clear the road to the village and the nearby border areas, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a separate statement, the Hashd Shaabi said the troops liberated Akashat area after they destroyed IS defensive lines there, which was used by IS militants as a corridor to move between Syria and Iraq, leaving many IS militants killed and wounded in the area.

The Iraqi forces announced a radio frequency to broadcast the news and instructions to the residents of the towns and villages in the area, JOC said in another statement.

The Iraqi aircraft also dropped thousands of leaflets in Akashat and the nearby cities of Aana, Rawa and al-Qaim near the border with Syria to inform the people that the liberation is soon and to tell IS militants to choose either to surrender and get a fair trial, or to get killed by the security forces.

–IANS

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