Iraqi forces advance in DAESH-held Ramadi

Iraqi officials say Iraqi armed forces have advanced into Ramadi city center in Anbar Province, which has been controlled by DAESH terrorist group since May

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Iraqi soldiers advance their position in northern Ramadi, Iraq, December 21, 2015

Iraqi authorities announced on Tuesday that the Iraqi armed forces have advanced in the center of Iraq’s western city of Ramadi as part of their operation to retake the city which was captured by DAESH in May .

A spokesperson for the Iraqi counter-terrorism units Sabah al Numani said "Our forces are advancing toward the government complex in the centre of Ramadi."

"The fighting is in the neighbourhoods around the complex, with support from the air force," he added.

The operation in the center of the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province started on Tuesday morning, one day after the chief of staff General Othman al Ghanemi warned people about the upcoming mission.

"There is an ongoing operation to control a sector in preparation of the onslaught on the city centre within the coming hours, God willing," he said during his speech broadcasted on state TV.

The Iraqi military asked resients of Ramadi to leave the city within 72 hours and suggested safe routes for them to take.

However, an Iraqi Defence Ministry spokesman Naseer Nuri said "There are families that managed to escape the gangs of DAESH."

"There is intelligence information from inside the city that they are preventing families from leaving; they plan to use them as human shields," he continued.

According to the Iraqi intelligence, more than 250 DAESH terrorists are present in the center of Ramadi.

If the Iraqi forces succeed in their operation, Ramadi will be the second big city after Tikrit that they have retaken from DAESH.

DAESH still controls Mosul, second largest city of Iraq, and Falluja, which is located on the road from Baghdad to Ramadi.

TRTWorld and agencies