Iraqi army and Shiite militias have advanced in the outskirts of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, in an operation that began to retake the city from ISIS militants.
Shiite militias, advanced on Tuesday to within a few kilometres of a university on Ramadi's southwestern edge, police sources said.
The counteroffensive comes after ISIS militants seized Ramadi last week.
The town of Husaiba al Sharqiya near Ramadi was taken back from ISIS on Sunday by Iraqi forces and that Sunni tribal fighters deployed to the region.
A Shiite paramilitary group, Kataeb Hezbollah, said in a statement they arrested “hundreds of militants.”
“We have carried out an operation at the outskirts of Ramadi in coordination with Iraqi troops,” the statement read.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has accused the Iraqi army of fleeing Ramadi although they outnumber the ISIS fighters.
"The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," he told CNN's State of the Union programme.
"They vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they withdrew from the site,” he added.
Saad al Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, said the government was surprised by Carter's remarks and that the defense secretary "was likely given incorrect information."