Iraqi forces on Friday launched a predawn operation to recapture Rawa, the last town held by Islamic State in Iraq.
Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesperson for the U.S.-led Coalition against ISIS tweeted that Coalition advisors were supporting the Iraqi Forces with strikes, intelligence and surveillence during the operation.
Iraqi Security Forces launch operation to liberate Rawah — last ISIS-held urban area in Iraq. Remarkable progress since #ISF's 1st big victory over ISIS in Tikrit (March 2015). As always, @CJTFOIR supporting ISF with advisors, intel, surveillance & precision strikes against ISIS
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) November 17, 2017
Operational commander Lieutenant General Abudul Amir Rasheed Yarallah has said the ISF already reached the center of the district, while the army said it had “liberated Rawa entirely” by midday, Rudaw reported.
Iraq’s defense ministry said in a statement that it had completely retaken the town after after Iraqi troops entered from the western neighborhoods.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Dr. Haider Al-Abadi: Our heroic forces liberated the district of Rawa in record time and continue to secure the Jazira and desert area and the Iraqi border.
— PM Media Office (@IraqiPMO) November 17, 2017
Rawa, located on the Euphrates river in Iraq’s western Anbar province, is the last urban area held by ISIS after Iraqi forces recaptured the town of Qaim on November 3. The ISF, Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services and Hashd al-Shaabi militas launched the final offensive to retake Qaim and Rawa on October 25.
Iraqi national anthem in Rawa district pic.twitter.com/LinzPWTeYD
— Methaq Al-fayyadh (@MethaqAlFayyadh) November 17, 2017
A Coalition airstrike report released earlier on Friday listed two strikes near Rawa, which destroyed an improvised explosive device factory and “artillery piece.” The Coalition said it carried out 11 other strikes near Rawa this week, hitting vehicle borne improvised explosive device factories and other buildings, an ISIS headquarters, weapons and vehicles, among other targets.
ISIS first captured Qaim, a strategic town on the border with Syria, along with Rawa in July 2014 after Iraqi forces withdrew from the areas. General Qassim Atta said at the time that the Iraqis had to reinforce troops in other areas.