Mosul, May 23: Iraqi paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units on Tuesday recaptured the town of al-Qairwan from Islamic State (IS) militants after an operation to dislodge the IS from areas near Iraqi-Syrian border west of Mosul, the military said.
“The Hashd Shaabi liberated al-Qairwan and all the villages around it, and are now in control of the main roads and an airbase in north and south of the town,” Xinhua news agency quoted Abdul-Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) as saying in a statement.
The paramilitary units stormed the town about 10 p.m. on Monday, and clashes inside the town continued to about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the statement said.
In the morning, the troops searched the town looking for the militants, while teams of explosive experts launched an operation to defuse or detonate roadside bombs and booby-trapped houses in the town, located in the rugged sprawling area south of Sinjar, about 100 km west of Mosul.
After the recapture of al-Qairwan, the Hashd Shaabi units ended their first stage of major offensive designed to secure the border areas with neighbouring Syria and cut off the IS’ supply routes between Mosul and Raqqa city, the capital of the IS’ self-declared caliphate.
The paramilitary units are now preparing advance further to the west to liberate the other militants-seized town of Baaj, 25 km west of al-Qairwan.