CAIRO (Sputnik) — During the first hours of the operation to liberate the town of Qaim, the last remaining stronghold of the Daesh terrorist group in the country, Iraqi militiamen have liberated Saad airbase and a number of areas of the town, the militia said in a statement.
Qaim is located in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, adjacent to the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, where US-led forces are also carrying out airstrikes. The town was captured by Daesh militants in June 2014 and served as an important supply route between terrorist strongholds in Iraq and the oil-rich Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. This area has always been targeted by coalition air strikes as it was a haven of Daesh senior leaders. According to the estimates from Operation Inherent Resolve's Combined Joint Task Force, Iraqi Security Forces are facing around 1,500 Daesh terrorist fighters around Qaim.
Earlier in October, the Iraqi forces fully liberated from jihadists the country's northern town of Hawija, Kirkuk province, which became the main stronghold of the terror group in the region after the Iraqi army regained control of Mosul in July.