Offensives to be launched in western Anbar regions within hours: Official

Iraqi army armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) cross as military pontoon bridge one the way to the frontline in western Mosul, Iraq June 7, 2017. Picture taken June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Anbar ( The first phase of military operation to liberate two regions in western Anbar simultaneously will be launched within the coming few hours, an official was quoted saying.

In press remarks, the Iraqi news agency quoted Emad al-Dulaimi, Rutba mayor, as saying that operations will be carried out in Okashat, 120 KM from Rutba, and Annah town, west of Anbar.

“That phase of the battle includes securing the road stretching Rutba and Okashat as well as deploying military troops along it,” Dulaimi added.

“Around 120 families, which almost equal to 700 persons, are recorded as refugees on a daily basis over the past seven days,” he added. “These families flee toward security troops on the road between Qaim and Okashat, reaching to Rutba.”

News reports, on Wednesday, said the militant group executed five young people in front of their families who had been caught fleeing town of Qaim, on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, towards the city of Rutba to the east.

Anbar’s western towns of Anah, Qaim and Rawa are still held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic Caliphate. Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them.

Fighter jets from the Iraqi army and the international coalition regularly pound IS locations in the province.

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