80,000 Volunteer Forces to Participate in Operation to Liberate Iraq's Ramadi: Commander
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Over 80,000 Iraqi volunteer forces will take part in a military operation to liberate the ISIL-held city of Ramadi, the capital of western province of Anbar, a senior commander of the forces said.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency on Tuesday, Deputy Commander of the Master of Martyrs Battalions Ahmad al-Maqsousi said since three days ago, an operation code-named "Labayk Ya Rasool Allah" has begun in the Baiji District in Saladin province and will continue toward Ramadi.
He emphasized that more than 80,000 Popular Mobilization Forces along with the Iraqi army and federal police will take part in the operation to recapture Ramadi from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.
The Iraqi commander further criticized the US-led operations claimed to be against ISIL in Iraq, saying that the Americans have always put obstacles in the path to liberate ISIL-held areas.
Maqsousi noted that a few days ago, US fighter jets bombarded some positions of the Iraqi army and popular forces and later announced that they had made the move by mistake.
Iraq formally announced on Tuesday the start of a military operation to recapture the western province of Anbar from the ISIL militants.
Ramadi fell to the ISIL militants on May 17 in a serious setback for Iraqi forces, which has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the US strategy of air strikes to help Baghdad roll back the insurgents, which now hold a third each of Iraq and adjacent Syria.
Ramadi, situated about 110km west of Baghdad, is the capital of Anbar province. The strategic city extends along the Euphrates River and is the largest city in the governorate.