Iraqi forces retake Falluja city hall from DAESH

Government forces meet little resistance while taking back the main government compound in Falluja.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Smoke rises from clashes between Iraqi security forces and DAESH in Falluja, Iraq, June 17, 2016.

Iraqi forces have retaken the city council building in the city of Falluja from DAESH, state television reported on Friday.

DAESH terrorists are still in control of a large part of the city where the conflict forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee.

According to a military statement, the federal police raised the Iraqi flag above the city council’s building.

"The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolises the restoration of the state's authority," federal police chief Raed Shaker Jawdat told AFP.

Falluja lies 30 miles west of Baghdad and the government lost its control in 2014, months before DAESH took control of the city of Mosul.

Vehicles of the Iraqi security forces are pictured in Khadraa neighborhood in Falluja, Iraq, June 14, 2016.

Government forces launched an offensive, along with the army, Shi'ite Muslim militias, Sunni tribal fighters and US-led coalition air strikes, on May 23 in order to take Falluja back.

According to AFP, the government forces met limited resistance by DAESH.

"This operation was done with little resistance from DAESH," the operation's overall commander, Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, said.

"There is a mass flight of DAESH to the west that explains this lack of resistance. There are only pockets of them left and we are hunting them down," he added.

With DAESH on the retreat, many civilians manage to run away but danger remains on their journey where in many cases civilians are killed or injured by explosions or roadside bombs.

When the operation was launched, an estimated number of 50,000 people remained in the city.

The number of civilians remaining now is not clear.

TRTWorld and agencies