ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have launched a sweep up operation on the Kirkuk-Khurmatu-Kifri road in a bid to capture ISIS and ‘White Flags’ militants in the unstable area. “The Iraqi forces have started an operation on the Kirkuk-Khurmatu-Kifri road to sweep up the area,” Mala Karim Shukr, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)’s Hamrin office, told Rudaw. One member of the ISF was killed and seven more were injured in a bombing in the village of Palkana, Shukr said. “The operation is a sweep up and it is for capturing ISIS and White Flags members in Hamrin,” Shukr added. The White Flags is thought to be one of a number of groups to emerge from the fragments of ISIS following its ejection from Iraq’s major urban centers. Although the Iraqi government declared the defeat of ISIS in December 2017, there have been sporadic military confrontations between ISIS remnants and ISF including the Kurdish Peshmerga — around Makhmour and in the Hamrin mountains in Saladin province. The operation comes as the Iraqi Army and the federal government bolster efforts to secure the dangerous stretch of road, which sees frequent ISIS kidnappings and assassinations. Iraqi forces target ISIS, ‘White Flags’ on Kirkuk-Khurmatu-Kifri road Ya, splinter groups.