ISIS has withdrawn its fighters from several towns in Iraq’s Anbar Province, redeploying the bulk of their forces further West, toward the Syrian border. The town of Hit was the largest of those they left, along with nearby Kubaysa, and the desert town of Rufba.
Iraqi security spokesman Yahya Rasool said the Iraqi military’s goal is to have warplanes target the withdrawing ISIS forces to prevent them from taking up position elsewhere.
ISIS initially took over Hit in October of 2014, but has seen that contested intermittently by both the Iraqi military and some local tribal factions, executing members of a pro-government tribal faction en masse shortly after seizing the town.
The abandonment of Rufha likely reflects fighting at the Syrian border crossing of Tanf, which is the primary supply route connecting Rufha, and the rest of southern highway 10, to ISIS territory.