CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team -2 wrapped up Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) today near the Syrian border.
The 17-day offensive, which took place in the cities of Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, was part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter) designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout al Anbar province. The operation made way for the establishment of a permanent Iraqi Army security presence in the al Qaim region and set the conditions for local citizens to vote in the upcoming Dec.15 elections.
Operation Steel Curtain ushered in the first large-scale operational employment of the Iraqi Army, approximately 1,000 Soldiers, in western al Anbar province. The Iraqi Soldiers conducted detailed clearing missions alongside Coalition counterparts and began establishing permanent bases within these three cities. Forces at these outposts will prevent the al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists from regaining a presence in these cities and threatening local residents with their murder and intimidation campaign.
Integration of locally recruited Iraqi Army Soldiers in al Anbar was introduced by the arrival of the Desert Protectors. The Desert Protectors were recruited from the al Qaim region and worked alongside the Iraqi Army and U.S. units throughout the course of the operation. Their familiarity with the area and its people was crucial in identifying friend from foe and enabled their Iraqi and Coalition partners to better understand the geographical complexities of the region.
Ten Marines were killed in fighting during Operation Steel Curtain. Since the operation began 139 terrorists were killed and 256 processed for detention.
The porous Iraq-Syria border was identified as a main route for men, material and money to be transited into Iraq. The western Euphrates River Valley region was known to be a major artery for al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists. Iraqi Soldiers and U.S. forces moved in on Husaybah the morning of Nov. 5, followed shortly thereafter by Karabilah, Ubaydi and winding up clearing the Ramana region.
Iraqi Army Soldiers and U.S. forces will continue to maintain presence and increase efforts in securing the Iraq-Syria border.
Initial story: Operation Steel Curtain Launched by U.S. and Iraqi Forces and links to all the updates we have.
Source: Multi-National Force-Iraq