“Follow-on ground clearance operations are currently taking place by the 2nd Iraqi Special Operations Forces Battalion to destroy a major transit hub for Daesh members moving from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour, and the Kirkuk region,” the statement said.
Yahya Rasoul, a spokesperson for the Iraqi army, said in a separate statement that the US-led coalition carried out the strikes to assist Iraqi forces in clearing areas such as Qanus and other deserts in Salahuddin.
Rasoul added that these operations aim to prevent cross-border movement of Islamic State members between Syria and Iraq.
According to Maj.
Hill, Commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the goal of the operation was to deny “Daesh the ability to hide on Qanus Island.”
“We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region,” he added.
The special operations arm of the US-led coalition operates in both Iraq and Syria.
The US-led coalition said they used “80,000 pounds of munitions on the island to disrupt Daesh the ability to hide in the thick vegetation.”
“CTS Forces continue to conduct ground clearance operations to destroy any remaining…Daesh [militants] on the island,” it added.
Despite over two years since Baghdad declared a final victory over the Islamic State, the group continues to conduct attacks in areas it once controlled, embarking on a wave of kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings that have raised fears of a new stage of heightened insurgency.
According to Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a scholar who studies militant groups, the Islamic State is not only active in areas between the Jazeera desert, Makhmour, and the Kirkuk region, but also other places like Diyala.
“I think Iraqis need to continue to do operations even in areas like Diyala, for example, where there is a continued activity of ISIS elements,” he told Kurdistan 24.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany