Iraqi artillery shells IS positions inside Syria

Iraqi artillery shells IS positions inside Syria

RAMADI, Iraq, — Iraqi artillery carried out bombardment on the positions of Islamic State (IS) militants inside Syria near the border, Iraqi officials said Saturday.

Ahmed al-Mahalawi, mayor of the city of al-Qaim, some 400 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, told Xinhua “the artillery of the Army’s 8th Division stationed in al-Qaim is conducting almost daily bombardment on targets of the terrorist Daesh (IS group) on the Syrian side near the Iraqi border.”

Mahalawi identified IS targets as positions and movement of the extremist militants, which were spotted by the Iraqi military units deployed on the Iraqi border with Syria.

An army’s Lieutenant Colonel in al-Qaim confirmed to Xinhua that the Iraqi artillery near the border line with Syria “are shelling IS positions inside Syria from time to time when the extremist militants try to approach Iraqi forces deployed near the border.”

The comments of the two officials came two days after the Iraqi air force carried out airstrikes on positions of IS militants inside Syria near the border.

A statement issued Thursday by the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, said the airstrikes were conducted to protect the Iraqi forces near the border with Syria in western Iraq.

“Such airstrikes would help accelerate the elimination of IS gangs in the (Middle East) region after we have eliminated them inside Iraq,” the statement added.

Previously, the Iraqi air force carried out such preemptive airstrikes against IS militants inside Syria with Iraqi F-16 fighter jets.

On Dec. 9, 2017, Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

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