Shafaq News/ Last week, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command launched the second stage of the "Solid Will" military operation against ISIS in western Iraq.
The Al-Anbar Police Commander, Lt. Gen. Hadi Kassar, explained to Shafaq News Agency the objectives and preliminary results of Operation "Solid Will" in the desert areas surrounding the Rutba district, the far west of the Governorate.
The Counter-Terrorism Service, the Rapid Response Forces, the Federal Police, the Iraqi army, the Special Tactical Regiment, and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) participate in the Operation," He said.
"The operation targeted areas west of the Al-Anbar desert, including Wadi Houran, Al-Hussainiyat, Al-Taba'at, and other desert and remote areas." He added.
"Solid Will is a message of reassurance and is proceeding successfully to find ISIS sleeper cells and completely clean Al-Anbar from ISIS," he said.
Meanwhile, the Tribal Mobilization Forces deputy commander in Al-Anbar (affiliated with the PMF), Tariq al-Asal, said that "the operation aims to control the desert, clear it of the ISIS remnants elements, and destroy its sites and shelters."
"The main important objectives of the operation is to secure the international highway linking Iraq and the Jordanian border and to support the border guard forces, to control the borders with Syria." He revealed to our Agency.
Al-Asal indicated that "when Solid Will Operation ends, the Iraqi military forces will carry out other operations in the northern areas of Rawa district and Tal Safuk to the Syrian borders," adding, "The Al-Anbar Operations Command will also launch operations in Wadi Houran and the surrounding areas."
"The operation destroyed several ISIS hostels, tunnels and weapons stores."
Concerning the security breaches in separate areas of Al-Anbar, Al-Asal clarified, "The terrorists deployed a checkpoint on the international highway, but the Iraqi aviation destroyed it."
The Air Force Command did not confirm this news.
On the clashes erupted between the army forces and ISIS elements in the Heet district which resulted in the death of a soldier, the official confirmed that the operations are still ongoing to pursue the terrorists.
In turn, Al-Rutba mayor, Imad Al-Dulaimi, said to Shafaq News Agency that "the second phase of the Solid Will Operation will end soon in all regions of western Al-Anbar, including north of Al-Rutba and the highway towards Al-Qaim, Kubaisa, Al-Nukhayb, and the borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan."
Al-Dulaimi said, "The operation included various armed forces sectors and resulted in the destruction of several hostels and booby-trapped vehicles, the arrest of wanted people, and the killing of others."
"This Operation provided the security forces with sufficient information about the desert areas and ISIS sites."
In 2017, Iraq declared final victory over ISIS after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country; the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.
The war has had a devastating impact on the areas previously controlled by the militants. About 3.2 million people remain displaced.
Yet, ISIS still has sleeper cells in several Iraqi Governorates.