A major operation in Hamrin (جبال حمرين) was launched by Iraq last week to clear the mountain areas of ISIS remnants. It is part of a series of operations that are designed to destroy ISIS in Iraq this year. ISIS has put down roots in the mountainous areas since its defeat in Hawija and other areas in 2017. It continued operations from the rural areas, and was able to infiltrate neighbouring villages, carrying out attacks at night. It was also active near Lake Hamrin (لبحيرة حمرين). It was part of a large strategy also involving areas near Makhmur and Anbar.
The operation began on April 11. Led by Iraqi CTS Lt. General Abdel-Wahab al-Sa’idi it covered areas in Saladin and Diyala provinces. According to David Witty, “1st & 2nd ISOF Brigades of Iraqi CTService are involved in pursuing ISIS in Hamrin Hills, making it biggest CTS operation since end of conventional fighting against ISIS.” It involved other units as well from the PMU in other areas and also support from the Coalition.
For instance in other sectors “Last night, Brigade 23 from Badr Military Wing was involved in operations designed to spring ambushes against ISIS elements and it looks like 4 were wounded during clashes in Khanaqin subdistrict….Brigades 6, 31, and 51 of the PMF embark on a search operation from west of Tikrit until the shores of Lake Tharthar. This work area is next to the Saraya Salam zone which is to the south,” Tom Cat reports.
Important news on the first day involved the destruction of the ISIS media headquarters in Hamrin Hills during the operation.
“Iraqi CTService announces it has killed 12 to 15 ISIS in ongoing Hamrin Hills operation, discovered important ISIS documents & prevented ISIS from establishing a base. International Coalition aircraft destroyed 15 ISIS safe houses in the area,” writes David Witty.
On April 13: “CTS Spokesman Sabah Nu’man said today in a news conference that the ISOF operation foiled a plan by ISIS to establish a formal base of operations in Hamrin. Also stated that Coalition target 15 caches and that media silence of the operation caught the enemy by surprise.”
OIR spokesman notes “ICTS announced the outcome of the joint operation, supported by the Iraqi Army Aviation, the Global Coalition Air Force, and other units from the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, to pursue Daesh fighters in Hamrin mountains.”
Details on the media center
Nevertheless ISIS continues to be a global threat