On April 9, the Iraqi military and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) launched a large-scale security operation against ISIS remnants in the western al-Anbar desert.
According to the PMU’s media wing, the new operation, dubbed “Victory Heroes 2,” was launched from four directions. A brigade from the PMU and another of the military will jointly conduct operations in each of the directions.
“At 60:00 o’clock, the PMU’s 13, 17, 18 and 19th Brigades, the Rutba Regiment and four brigades from the army supported by military aviation as well as the PMU’s medical, military engineering, explosives control, intelligence, security, anti-armor, media, and logistical support units set off [to carry out the operation],” the PMU said in a statement.
The operation is targeting areas where ISIS cells have been active recently. Last week, five Iraqi soldiers were killed and injured when the terrorist group’s fighters attacked their position in al-Anbar’s western desert.
Qasim Musleh, commander of the PMU’s al-Anbar Operations, said the new operation is aimed at securing a long strip of Iraq’s border.
“The main objective of Operation Victory Heroes 2 is to secure Iraq’s border and the desert laying between the Iraqi-Jordanian border and Saudi Arabia, which includes the southwestern part [of al-Anbar] where terrorist gangs rely on these areas to launch criminal attacks against the stationing points,” said the commander.
While the operation will not likely end ISIS presence in the western al-Anbar desert, it could restrict the terrorist group’s freedom of movement in the region. Furthermore, such operations usually inflict heavy losses on the group’s cells.