The city of Hawija has been captured, according to Iraqi authorities. Islamic State militants by the hundreds have either surrendered or tried to escape with their families, simplifying the takeover, but at least 270 militants were killed during this phase of the operation. Cleanup fighting continues in the suburbs. Also liberated was the nearby town of Riyadh. The focus will now be on Anbar province, where the militants control territory along the Syrian border and Euphrates River.
Despite predictions that it would stall the effort against ISIS/Daesh, the Kurdish referendum appears to have had no effect at all. Kurdish Peshmerga units continued to coordinate with Iraqi forces in Hawija, mostly blocking escape routes.
During a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to France, French President Emmanuel Macron offered to mediate between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to close the borders to Kurdistan soon and cut off the use of oil pipelines. However, Karkhi Alti Barmagh, Chairperson of Turkmen Democratic Movement in Iraq, suggested that Turkey has too much invested in Kurdistan to stop the passage of oil.
Iraqi Ambassador to Russia, Haidar Mansour Hadi, described military action against Kurdistan as unlikely, saying the government had other means at its disposal.
At least 75 were killed and five were wounded:
Operations in Shirqat killed 29 militants.
In Rutba, eight militants were killed.
Three suicide bombers were killed in Tash.
Security forces killed three militants in Hadhar.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Seven U.S. Airmen Among 131 Killed in Iraq – March 16th, 2018
- U.S. Military Helicopter Crash; 63 Killed in Iraq – March 15th, 2018
- Mass Grave Found Near Kirkuk; 29 Killed in Iraq – March 14th, 2018
- Militiaman Shoots P.M.’s Security Officer; 32 Killed in Iraq – March 13th, 2018
- Scattered ISIS Attacks near Kirkuk; 54 Killed in Iraq – March 12th, 2018