Iraqi security forces have launched an extensive operation aimed at liberating the Al-Buthiab area north of Ramadi, capital of the western Anbar province, from the control of the Daesh militant group, according to a local military source.
Gen. Jamal al-Dulaimi told Anadolu Agency on Sunday that an Iraqi military force -- led by Anbar Operations Commander Major-General Ismail al-Mahllawi and backed by tribal fighters from the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) militia and with U.S. and Iraqi air support -- had launched a "large-scale operation to liberate Al-Buthiab from the grip of Daesh".
"The region contains pockets of Daesh militants, which often target Iraqi security forces with gun, mortar and rocket-fire," al-Dulaimi said.
"Liberation of the area will allow security forces to restore security in a large region north of Ramadi near Anbar Operations Command headquarters," he added.
Major-General al-Mahllawi, for his part, told Anadolu Agency that an Iraqi army tank had shelled a Daesh stronghold to the north of the Ameriya district (located 23 kilometers south of Fallujah), killing six Daesh militants, including a prominent sniper.
In the northern Nineveh province, meanwhile, Shirzad Zakhuli, a captain of Kurdish Peshmerga forces, told Anadolu Agency that Iraqi artillery forces, in coordination with U.S.-led coalition forces, had shelled two Daesh positions in the Al-Noran and Bashiqah regions east of Mosul.
"The bombardment killed 14 Daesh militants and forced remaining Daesh elements to withdraw from the two sites towards Mosul," said Zakhuli.
In June of last year, Daesh overran Mosul -- Iraq’s second largest city -- before moving on to capture additional territory in both Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi government forces, along with pro-government militias and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, are currently seeking to retake Daesh-held areas with air support from the U.S.-led coalition.
Over the last year, the coalition has carried out numerous airstrikes against Daesh targets in both Iraq and Syria, forcing the militant group to withdraw from a number of areas it had previously captured, although it remains in firm control of Mosul.