Iraqi forces have continued to register gains in their ongoing effort to free the city of Ramadi from militants of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group, Iraqi military sources reported on Wednesday.
“Clashes remain ongoing between counter-terrorism forces and ISIL militants who have taken up positions only a few hundred meters from Ramadi’s local government HQ,” Ibrahim al-Fahdawi, head of security in the city’s Khaldiya district, said.
Iraqi troops are now preparing to storm Ramadi’s Al-Hoz district in which the government HQ is located, Walid al-Duleimi, a colonel in the Iraqi army, told media outlets.
On Tuesday, Iraqi security forces backed by US-led coalition air power launched a major operation aimed at capturing Ramadi, the regional capital of Iraq’s western Anbar province.
They have since managed to seize two districts in the southern part of the city.
A few days before the operation, Iraqi planes dropped leaflets over the city calling on local residents to leave the area within three days.
In November, Iraqi security forces — backed by pro-government units — managed to establish control over roughly half of Ramadi.
In June of last year, ISIL overran Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — before moving on to occupy additional territory in both Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi government forces, along with pro-government units and Kurdish peshmerga fighters, now seek to retake ISIL-held areas with air support from the US-led coalition.
Over the last year, US-led coalition warplanes have struck numerous ISIL positions in both Iraq and Syria, forcing the takfiri group to withdraw from a number of areas it had previously captured.