Iraqi Forces Make Big Advances in Hawjia

An Iraqi man, from a neighboring village, waves a white flag as Iraqi forces advance towards ISIS group's stronghold of Hawija on October 1, 2017. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP
An Iraqi man, from a neighboring village, waves a white flag as Iraqi forces advance towards ISIS group's stronghold of Hawija on October 1, 2017. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP
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Iraqi Forces Make Big Advances in Hawjia

An Iraqi man, from a neighboring village, waves a white flag as Iraqi forces advance towards ISIS group's stronghold of Hawija on October 1, 2017. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP
An Iraqi man, from a neighboring village, waves a white flag as Iraqi forces advance towards ISIS group's stronghold of Hawija on October 1, 2017. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Iraqi forces entered Hawija on Wednesday after heavy battles with ISIS militants, as civilians continued to flee the town that lies southwest of Kirkuk.

"The army, the Federal Police, the Emergency Response division and rapid response (Popular Mobilization Forces) stormed Hawija,” said a statement from the joint operations commander, Lieutenant-General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah.

“Progress is continuing," he said.

Eyewitnesses in Hawjia told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that ISIS militants fled towards the neighboring town of Riyadh when Iraqi forces stormed Hawija.

Riyadh is one of the last ISIS bastions southwest of Kirkuk.

Despite the Iraqi forces’ advance, there are some pockets of resistance in Hawija.

Mohammed Saeed, a fighter from the 15th army brigade who is participating in the battle for Hawija, said ISIS is collapsing and its militants are not showing any resistance, and are fleeing rather than confronting.

“The majority of those who have escaped from the liberated areas are foreigners. According to information we have received, they fled to the Hamrin mountains,” said Saeed.

He added that ISIS terrorists had resorted to suicide car bombings to stop the advance of Iraqi troops, but they failed to show any resistance inside Hawija.

Iraq launched an offensive on Sept. 21 to dislodge ISIS from Hawija and surrounding areas.

Hundreds of people, mainly woman and children, are fleeing the fighting to Makhmur district that lies southwest of Erbil, the city of Kirkuk and Salahuddin province.



Iraq Says No Green Light to Turkish Operations in Kurdistan

Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)
Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)
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Iraq Says No Green Light to Turkish Operations in Kurdistan

Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)
Smoke billows from a Turkish strike on Iraq's Duhok. (Kurdish media)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said on Friday his country hasn’t given Türkiye the green light to carry out operations in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

In televised remarks, he said the Baghdad government needs to hold more “security discussions with Turkish officials, even though it recognizes that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is also an Iraqi problem.”

He added that the Turkish army has been deployed in some Iraqi territories since 1991.

The deployment will be discussed during meetings with Turkish officials that will be held soon, he revealed.

Previous discussions with Türkiye did not yield an agreement over the security file, continued the FM. Türkiye is tying its deployment to the presence of the PKK.

Given that the group is present in Iraq, then it must also be dealt with in an “Iraqi way,” he went on to say.

The Turkish military’s incursion of 40 kms inside Iraqi territory had sparked widespread political and popular uproar.

Iraq’s national security council convened to address the issue.

Spokesman of the armed forces Yahya Rasool said the council tackled the Turkish violations and interference in the joint Iraqi-Turkish border regions.

He stressed Baghdad’s rejection of the incursion and undermining of Iraq’s territorial integrity.

Türkiye must respect the principles of good neighborliness and work diplomatically with the Iraqi government and coordinate with it over any security issue, he added.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani had dispatched a delegation led by the national security council head to Kurdistan to discuss general affairs and come up with a unified position over Iraq’s sovereignty.