Shafaq News/ The western regions of northern Iraq's Nineveh Province, particularly Al- Ba'ja district near the border with Syria, are experiencing an unprecedented escalation of terrorist attacks.
This brings to mind the situation before 10th of June, 2014, when the "ISIS" occupied Mosul city, the center of Nineveh then third of Iraq, beginning from Nineveh desert.
Prior to that date, ISIS took a number of al-Jazerra areas in Nineveh and Anbar provinces as headquarters for its members and opened many camps in them attacking the Iraqi forces and cities. This resulted in controlling Mosul, Anbar and Salahuddin.
The majority of the population of Al-Baaj district (170 km southwest of Mosul) are Sunni Arabs. It is bordered from the north by Sinjar Mountain, from the east by the Hadar district, from the west by the Syrian border and from the south by al-Jazzera areas extending to Anbar and Salah al-Din.
Al-Baaj, Iraq's largest district in terms of space, has recently witnessed successive attacks by "ISIS" militants targeting several villages.
In late June, the organization launched two attacks on al- Khazrajiya village , killing four people, including three women, as well as wounding five villagers from the Arab Shammar clan.
Yet ISIS repeated attacks seems contrary to the announcement by the Iraqi Defense Ministry that its forces control the situation in al-Jazzera areas ,the desert and the border with Syria.
In the wake of rising fears from ISIS return , in which Baghdad announced its victory over the end of 2017, the Iraqi government has launched a military operation, on Sunday to clear areas between the north provinces of and western Iraq to the border with Syria.
A safe haven in the desert
The member of Nineveh Provincial Council from Al-Baaj district, Khalaf Al-Hadidi described what is happening in the district as a rotation of controlling the land between the security forces and "ISIS". According to Anatolia news agency.
Al-Hadidi said that the current period is a lot alike the period before ISIS occupation to Iraqi cities, in terms of the organization’s movements and its growing capabilities.
"There is a clear escalation in ISIS attacks, as in the period before ISIS capture of Mosul," he said.
"The terrorists are in the desert areas and they are a safe haven for them now," he said.
"ISIS militants are imposing their control over Al-Baaj district at night, while security forces control it at day,” he added.
He stressed the need to "control this real threat, which threatens the areas of western Nineveh, and could move to Mosul."
Iraq's security is in danger
MP, Ahmed Maduloul al-Jarba Nineveh, who is from al-Baaj district, warned from the growing danger of "ISIS" in areas west of Mosul.
Al-Jarba said that " ISIS threatens the areas of western Nineveh, especially the areas south of Al-Baaj towards the Syrian border and south of Tel-Abtah and al-Hathar districts."
He attributed the deterioration of the security situation to the inadequacy of permanent security forces in those areas, and the non-return of displaced people of those villages and areas, since they were displaced during the restoration of the district from "ISIS" in June 2017.
Al-Jarba warned that the security of Mosul and Iraq in general is in danger, if the federal government does not permanently address the points of imbalance in the security file in western areas of Nineveh.
In particular, there are brigades in Al-Baaj district affiliated to Al-Eshreen squad army, which received the security file in the district, after the withdrawal of the popular mobilization forces (AL-Hashed al-Shaabi), three months ago.
Small groups of Sunni tribal groups are also deployed, having no armaments or heavy equipment, unlike AL-Hashed al-Shaabi which are (Shia).
Support the tribal crowds
The same concerns were confirmed by MP from Nineveh, Abdul Rahim al-Shammari who accused the federal authorities of neglecting the areas of al-Jazzera (western regions) in Nineveh for a long time.
Al-Shammari added that this negligence led to an increase in the influence of ISIS, especially in the depth of al- Jazzera areas extending between the provinces of Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Anbar, and up to the Syrian border.
He stressed that the border areas between Iraq and Syria are free of Iraqi border guards, and the army forces deployed there permanently unable to control security alone.
"The only solution to securing the border strip and al- Jazzera areas is by supporting tribal crowds whose fighters belong to those areas and villages," he said.
Under the heading "The Second Coming of ISIS: Evaluating the Next ISIS Rebellion," a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based non-governmental institution, warned a few days ago that the organization is preparing to return, more seriously, although losing lands that were declared as the so-called "Caliphate State" in the neighboring Syria and Iraq.
"Will of Victory" Operation
To deal with the current situation, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced the launch of the "Will of Victory" military operation on Sunday morning to clear areas located between the northern and western governorates of Iraq reaching the border with Syria.
In a statement, the joint operations command ( affiliated to the Ministry ) said that large-scale operations had begun to clear the areas between Salahuddin, Nineveh and Anbar to the Iraqi-Syrian border “.
The statement added that large pieces of both the army and the popular crowd are involved in the process, as well as the tribal crowd.
Adding that the operation will last for several days and will be supported by Air Force and the international coalition to combat "ISIS", led by the United States.