Bribing militants, 350 civilians flee IS-controlled areas in western Anbar

Families fleeing from the IS-held areas.

Anbar ( A local source revealed on Sunday that 350 civilians had escaped areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS)  west of Anbar governorate, according to Anadolu Agency.

Mayor of Rutba city in Anbar province, Emad al-Dulaimi, told Anadolu that 350 civilians, mostly women, children and the elders, managed to flee the IS-controlled areas of Annah, Qaim and Rawa west of Anbar Province before arriving to an office for displaced persons in Rutba city.

“Displaced people paid $300 per person to smugglers in order to escape the terror group,” he added.

Security forces and tribes currently control Rutba, where forces occasionally receive families who have escaped areas controlled by the IS

Iraqi troops were able to retake the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others. However, Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa are still held by the extremist group since 2014, when it emerged to proclaim a self-styled Islamic Caliphate.

Despite being occasionally pounded by Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition fighter jets, there has not been an officially-declared military campaign to free those regions.

Last week, dozens of Islamic State militants were reported killed and injured in airstrikes launched by the Iraqi army and U.S.-led coalition in western Anbar.

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