Qaim (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants arrested 20 families who were fleeing a group haven in western Anbar, a security source was quoted saying late Tuesday.
The families were fleeing Islamic State’s stronghold city of Qaim, on the borders with Syria, but were captured before reaching the city of Rutba, Alghad Press quoted the source saying.
Since they took over a third of Iraq in 2014, Islamic State militants have executed civilians fleeing the group’s holdouts and used them as human shields, according to government agencies, local and international aid groups.
Islamic State militants have held the towns of Anah, Rawa and Qaim since 2014, when they occupied a third of Iraq to proclaim their self-styled “caliphate”. So far, there has not been a wide-scale campaign to retake those regions, but occasional offensives managed to take over several surrounding villages.
The Iraqi government declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul, the group’s former capital in Iraq, in July, and said it was going to proceed towards other group holdouts, including Anbar.
Also late July, Iraqi warplanes reportedly dropped millions of messages telling locals that liberation offensives for the province were nearing, and telling them to stay away from militants’ deployments.