Iraqi security forces have recaptured the final ISIS stronghold of Hawija | American Military News

Iraqi security forces have recaptured the final ISIS stronghold of Hawija

Iraqi security forces have recaptured the final ISIS stronghold of Hawija Featured 2008: An Iraqi Army soldier assigned to 1st Company, 2nd Battalion, 37th Regiment, 9th Infantry Division conducts a patrol in a neighborhood in the Al Karradhah district of eastern Baghdad, Dec 31. IA soldiers were assisted in the counter-improvised explosive device operation by Paratroopers assigned to Battery B, 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. Under the security agreement Iraqi Security Forces will now oversee all military operations in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Licea, 3rd BCT PAO, 82nd Abn. Div., MND-B)

Iraqi security forces have completed a “swift and decisive” victory in liberating the city of Hawija from the grasp of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said Thursday.

In a statement congratulating the Iraqi government for its latest success in defeating ISIS, task force officials said the 14-day operation to liberate the city was hard-fought, “with many sources reporting more than 1,000 terrorists surrendered.”

“Our Iraqi partners fought bravely and professionally against a brutal and determined enemy, safeguarding innocent civilians throughout the entire campaign,” Army Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, the Inherent Resolve commanding general, said in the statement, adding that thanks to their efforts, Hawija will return to local governance and security.

“Today’s victory demonstrates we are stronger together, and this coalition remains committed to supporting our partners in the tough fight ahead as we continue our mission to defeat ISIS,” Funk said.

Battle-Hardened, Professional Forces

Iraq’s security forces continue to prove they are a battle-hardened, professional force dedicated to ridding their country of an evil enemy, the task force statement said. While the liberation of Hawija is a significant milestone, officials added, an ISIS presence remains in Iraq, and the coalition will continue to stand side by side with the Iraqi forces in their collective mission to defeat ISIS.

The Iraqi security forces are concurrently conducting operations in western Anbar province and have already secured the towns of Anah, Rayhanah, and Akashat, the statement noted.

The liberation of Mosul, Tal Afar and Hawija demonstrate continued progress in the campaign to defeat ISIS, officials said, adding that the coalition will continue to support the Iraqi government of Iraq “as we recognize together the importance of a unified Iraq to the long-term security and prosperity of the Iraqi people.”

The Iraqi government of Iraq and the country’s security forces, with the support of the global coalition, have liberated more than 4 million Iraqis and reclaimed more than 160,000 square miles of land once held by ISIS, the coalition statement said.

This is a Department of Defense press release.