By Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) – The Iraqi Defense Ministry on Saturday announced the start of a wide-ranging military operation aiming to clear desert regions in the provinces of Anbar (west), Saladin and Nineveh (north) of remaining Daesh elements.
The operation declared Saturday is the first of its kind carried out in the desert in these three Iraqi provinces since the Iraqi government announced defeating the self-proclaimed Daesh terrorist organization late last year.
Units from the Iraqi army-linked Al-Jazeera and the Badia Operations Command (JBOC), as well as the pro-government Shia Al-Hashd al-Shaabi forces began combing the desert area, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement Saturday.
The operation, according to Rasool, has been launched from seven directions and is backed by both the Iraqi Air Force and the U.S.-led International Aliance’s fighter jets.
Last December, officials in Baghdad declared that Daesh's military presence in Iraq had been all but dismantled following operations backed by the U.S.-led International Alliance.
However, from time to time, Iraqi officials announce operations against Daesh-affiliated "sleeper cells" in certain parts of the country.