Iraqi Forces Tighten Siege on ISIL in Fallujah
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraqi troops and voluntary forces have recaptured areas of ISIL-controlled Fallujah in Anbar province, according to a statement released by the Iraqi popular forces.
“After engaging in intense battles with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the town of Fallujah, our forces were able to retake control of the neighborhoods of Albu Khanifer and Khalif Sulaiman northwest of Fallujah,” the Monday statement said.
According to the statement, in an ongoing military campaign ISIL’s top local leader in Fallujah, named Abu Shahab Al-Orduni, was arrested.
Iraqi forces officially announced the launch of a military campaign to liberate areas under ISIL control in Anbar province.
Iraq said Sunday its forces has surrounded ISIL in Fallujah and the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, where they had opened a corridor for civilians to flee before a planned assault begins.
“Iraqi joint forces are on the alert to liberate the embattled towns of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar, but no timeframe has been set yet,” Brigadier General Yahia Rasoul, a spokesman for Iraq’s Defense Ministry, told news agencies Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Anbar operations command announced a similar corridor in Fallujah.
Fallujah, 69 kilometers west of Baghdad, has been under ISIL control since last summer. It has been besieged by the Iraqi army, which has been continuously shelling the city to weaken the extremists.
The ISIL terrorist group seized control of Ramadi in May, sending Iraqi forces out of the city in a major loss that came despite weeks of US-led airstrikes targeting the extremists.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Takfiri ISIL militants began their march through Iraqi territory in June 2014.
Army soldiers and volunteer fighters have joined forces, and are seeking to take back militant-held regions in joint operations.