Iraqi forces attack ISIL in Akashat near Syria border

Offensive in Akashat, which is supported by US-led air alliance, aims to tighten Iraq's hold on its border with Syria.

    Iraqi forces are seen outside the town of Akashat, northwest of the al-Anbar province [Moadh Al-Dulaimi/AFP]
    Iraqi forces are seen outside the town of Akashat, northwest of the al-Anbar province [Moadh Al-Dulaimi/AFP]

    Iraqi armed forces have started an offensive to dislodge ISIL fighters from an area on the border with Syria, south of the Euphrates river.

    The offensive, which began on Saturday, is supported by a US-led air alliance. It is also aimed at tightening Iraq's hold on its border with Syria, a spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command, Brigadier Yehia Rasool, said in a statement.

    "Iraqi forces are progressing towards the specified aim of cutting routes leading to Akashat and controlling the international borders with Syria in order to prevent terrorists' infiltration," he said.

    The offensive in the Akashat region, which has natural gas reserves, is meant to pave the way for the seizure of ISIL-held towns in the Euphrates river valley, including the border post of al-Qaim, military statements said.

    READ MORE: Civilians in Raqqa under fire 'from all sides' - Amnesty

    Saturday's offensive follows a series of military setbacks suffered by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, in Iraq.

    In July, Iraqi forces retook control of Mosul, ISIL's key stronghold in the north, after a campaign of nearly nine months.

    In August, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the group in Tel Afar, west of Mosul.

    ISIL still controls Hawija in Iraq's oil-rich province of Kirkuk and western areas in the country's largest province of Anbar.

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.