Iraqi forces have launched a broad operation to root out fighters from ISIS who have been harassing security forces in remote border areas, officers said Thursday.
The army, backed by aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition and local tribal fighters, launched their sweep at dawn in desert areas of Anbar province where the extremists have hideouts, an army lieutenant colonel said.
“The security forces are advancing from an area called ‘Kilometer 160’, west of Ramadi, towards Nukhaib,” said the officer stationed in Rutba, an outpost that is the last town on the road to Jordan.
Major General Mahmud al-Falahi, the head of Anbar Operations Command, said the goal of the operation is to flush out ISIS fighters in the desert and secure Rutba.
About 30 members of the security forces have been killed in attacks and ambushes by the extremists in the Rutba area over the past three weeks.
Anbar is a sprawling desert province traversed by the Euphrates River and borders Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.