Anbar (IraqiNews.com) The number of remaining Islamic State militants is estimated at no more than twenty members at the group’s stronghold in western Anbar, an official said.
“The families that remained in Rawa are around 300 families. News that mentioned that they are besieged to be used at human shields are untrue as the militants are in defeated,” Hussein al-Okaidi, mayor of Rawa told Baghdad Today.
“After the IS blew up the only bridge in Rawa, security troops had to look for a way to the town through al-Rummana,” he added.
Okaidi indicated presence of “desert roads and island that stretches out to the Syrian land. But there should be redeployment and tightening control on land before starting the last battle to clear Rawa of the militants.”
“The remaining number of militants in Rawa are no more than 20, while the rest fled toward Syria,” he added.
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”.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced on Friday liberation of Qaim in record time.
Many IS militants reportedly fled Qaim heading to al-BuKamal in Syria, after several leaders ran away and were killed in airstrikes by the Iraqi and U.S.-Coalition jets.
On Saturday, Hussein al-Okaidi, mayor of Rawa, 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.
The Joint Operations Command denied on Wednesday launching clearance operations in Rummana, warning media agencies from reporting news that harms the military plans of the operations.