FRONT VIDEO: Iraqi Army Regains Rutba from ISIS, Cuts off Supply Route

Thu May 19, 2016 19:37:21

Iraq’s military said on Thursday (May 19) it had retaken the remote western town of Rutba from Islamic State (Daesh / ISIS) in an operation launched this week to cut off the militants’ supply route to neighboring Syria.

The military’s joint operations command said in a statement the district, 360 km (225 miles) west of Baghdad, had been “completely liberated” without clarifying what that meant.

It said Iraqi forces had raised flags above some buildings, without specifying that they controlled the main government complex.

The military has pushed the jihadists out of much of the northern and western territories they seized in 2014, but the group still controls large areas and key cities including Mosul, which Iraqi authorities have pledged to retake this year as part of a US-backed strategy to defeat the group.

In addition to its linkage to Syria, Rutba was considered an important “support zone” which Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh) was using to stage operations into battle areas further north and east.

Counter-terrorism forces, backed by US-led coalition air strikes, had entered the town from the south on Tuesday and taken control of al-Intisar district, with an Iraqi general telling Reuters on Tuesday, “news of the full liberation” would be announced soon.

Major General Hadi Razij, head of Anbar police, told state TV elite commandos had attacked from the south while police, tribal fighters and the Iraqi army pushed from the north.

Razij said troops had also reached Camp Korean Village, a former US military base about 40 km further west towards the border, and continued to clear the international highway, Reuters reported.

S/SH 11

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