Iraq's military has told civilians in DAESH-held Ramadi to evacuate the city as soon as possible, in a clear sign that Iraqi authorities are possibly in the works of staging a military campaign to retake the city, which is the capital of Anbar Province.
Families in Ramadia were requested to leave the city from its southern, Himaira area, in a statement from the Iraqi authorities aired on Monday on Iraqi state TV, no further instructions or details given.
On Saturday, an anti-DAESH US-led coalition carried out seven air strikes near Ramadi targeting fighters of the terrorist group, key positions and weapons caches.
Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, fell under ISIS control last May. US President Barack Obama described the loss of Ramadi as a "tactical setback."
Twenty five thousand people fled Ramadi - mostly towards Baghdad - after it was attacked by DAESH, the United Nations said, but were stranded outside of the capital for weeks before they were finally let inside Baghdad.
The Iraqi government had voiced concerns at the time that terrorists belonging to DAESH could blend in the crowds of refugees and infiltrate the city. Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province is located about 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad.
Ramadi’s disappointing loss to DAESH
British Army brigadier Christopher Ghika said in June that DAESH wasn’t victorious in Ramadi and that the failure to hold the city was "unnecessarily" caused by an Iraqi Army commander.
"Ramadi was lost because the Iraqi commander in Ramadi elected to withdraw. In other words, if he had elected to stay, he would still be there today," Ghika told journalists in Baghdad.
"Ramadi was not a DAESH victory – Daesh did not win Ramadi, DAESH did not fight and defeat the Iraqi Army in Ramadi," Ghika said.
According to the Anbar Provincial Council, DAESH killed at least 500 people - both Iraqi civilians and soldiers - and forced 115,000 to flee from their homes after it captured the city of Ramadi in May. DAESH already controls large swathes of Iraq, including major cities such as Mosul and large parts of Fallujah.