Iraqi tribal militia seizes strategic border area from Daesh
Iraqi women and children who fled the towns of al-Shirqat and Qayyarah during fighting between Iraqi government forces and Daesh, are transferred to a camp for displaced people on July 27, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
Iraqi tribal militias backed by international coalition forces have wrested control of western Iraq's Al-Waleed area and border-crossing near Syria from the Daesh terrorist group, according to local officials.
After launching an operation from the city of Al-Ratba in Iraq’s western Anbar province, the Hashd al-Ashaeri, a pro-government Sunni tribal militia group, has managed to expel Daesh fighters from the area, Al-Ratba Mayor Imad al-Dulaimi told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
According to al-Dulaimi, Iraqi army and police units were not involved in the operation because a US-led anti-Daesh coalition preferred to allow tribesmen from Anbar to retake the area, which was overrun by the group in mid-2015.
In a related development, Sabah al-Karhout, head of Anbar's provincial council, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that the council had decided to dissolve local tribal councils established by local elders and dignitaries after Daesh overran large swathes of Anbar in 2014.
"Most of these tribal councils aren’t recognized by Anbar’s local government or council. Nor are they recognized by local dignitaries," he said.
Al-Karhout went on to assert that the recently formed tribal councils were "sabotaging the social fabric [of Anbar]".
According to local reports, Anbar has recently been plagued by political disputes between local citizens and tribes of the province, with both sides jockeying for prominence and favor.
The tribal councils, for their part, have reportedly become involved in the disputes by sponsoring certain political parties at the expense of others.
Iraq has been dogged by insecurity since mid-2014, when Daesh overran Mosul -- the country’s second-largest city -- and declared a self-styled "caliphate" in parts of Iraq and Syria.
While the Iraqi army and its allies have recently retaken considerable territory from Daesh, the group remains in control of several parts of the country.
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