TEHRAN (Tasni) – An Iraqi military spokesman said about 2,000 Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorists have been surrounded by the army troops in al-Hawija in the northern province of Kirkuk, according to media reports.
Iraq’s joint operations command spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said about 2,000 Daesh terrorists from various nationalities are under siege in Hawija.
He further told Sputnik News that the massive ground operation to liberate Hawija would begin after the end of the airstrikes against Daesh terrorists in the city.
However, Rasool said, there is no specific timetable for the operation, adding that when the time is ripe, the start of the operation will be officially announced.
Recently, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the northern city of Tal Afar and the entire Nineveh province had been purged of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
“Tal Afar has been liberated. We say to the Islamic State (Daesh) fighters: Wherever you are, we are coming for you and you have no choice but to surrender or die,” Abadi said in a statement released on August 31.
The recapture of Tal Afar was made possible with the help of the Iraqi army, Federal Police, counterterrorism units, volunteer troops, and Rapid Response Forces, Abadi said at the time.
Tal Afar, situated about 150 kilometers from Syria's border, was among the last Daesh-held cities in Iraq. The liberation of Tal Afar deprives Daesh of what was once a key supply route between its territory in Syria and Iraq.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Mobilization Units have been leading a major operation to rid the country of the Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces launched the Tal Afar liberation operation on August 20, one month after fully recapturing the country’s second biggest city, Mosul, which was Daesh’s so-called “capital” in Iraq.
Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq in 2014, but it is currently retreating from much of the territory under its control in the Arab country due to recent advances made by the Iraqi forces on the battlefield.