Iraq Predicts Ramadi Victory by Year's End
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Iraqi defense minister predicted Saturday that the country’s security forces would retake full control of the city of Ramadi by the end of the year.
"I met with the Joint Operations Command and they confirmed to me that we will regain all of the city of Ramadi by the end of this month," Khaled al-Obeidi told reporters in Baghdad, AFP reported.
Earlier this month, forces led by Iraq's elite counterterrorism service retook Tamim, a southwestern neighborhood of Ramadi from the ISIL terrorist group.
The offensive in Tamim this month marked a significant step in long-delayed efforts to recapture the city, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Baghdad and capital of the vast province of Anbar.
"The reason the battle took so long was to avoid casualties among our forces and also to avoid civilian casualties," Obeidi said. "There are still many civilians in the city."
The terrorists still holed up in the city center and using tunnels to avoid airstrikes may number no more than 300, according to military officials.
Ramadi, which has been under the control of Daesh since earlier this year, is already surrounded by the pro-government forces with reports suggesting that the terrorists have no more supply line for reinforcement.
Daesh began its offensive in Iraq in June 2014. Pro-government forces have managed to push back the militants from some of their major bastions, including the cities of Tikrit and Baiji in the northern province of Salahuddin.