Hawija and Riyadh Liberated; 75 Killed in Iraq

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:

Five mass graves have now been found in the Hawija area, but the number of victims was not revealed. Security forces killed 25 militants.

In Baghdad, a bomb killed one person and wounded three more. Gunmen killed one tribal fighter and wounded two more.

Operations in Shirqat killed 29 militants.

Shelling left five militants dead in Qaim. Militants killed a family trying to escape them.

In Rutba, eight militants were killed.

Three suicide bombers were killed in Tash.

Security forces killed three militants in Hadhar.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.