Safe passageways opened for civilians besieged in western Anbar: Official

Displaced Iraqi men wait in a truck to be transported to a camp as the battle between the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service and Islamic State militants continues nearby, in western Mosul, Iraq, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Anbar ( Iraqi troops have managed to free the civilians besieged by Islamic State militants in its last bastion in western Anbar, the Russian Sputnik agency quoted a source as saying.

Security forces have opened safe passageways to allow civilian families, besieged by IS to be used as human shields in Rawa, flee through Euphrates River, Na’eem al-Kaoud, head of Anbar provincial council’s security committee, said on Wednesday.

The families, according to Kaoud, fled toward Annah. He said that the civilians were very few.

Meanwhile, Emad al-Dulaimi, Rutba mayor, told Sputnik that displacement from Rawa toward Rutba has decreased as operations in Qaim started.

“The displaced people head toward Rutba then to refugee camps in west of Ramadi. However, this has become very low. Only handful of people arrive daily. Families rarely come as the majority headed toward Annah,” Dulaimi added.

Hussein al-Okaidi, mayor of Rawa, said, earlier this month, that operations in Rawa will not launch before three days at least to eradicate the sleeper cells and end the militants presence in al-Rummana village.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced, earlier November, the liberation of Qaim in record time. Troops also freed Ebeidi and Krabla regions in western Anbar.

Operations were launched, late October, to liberate Qaim and Rawa towns. Both have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”.

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