Iraqi forces retake four villages in Anbar province

Published May 4th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Iraqi army forces. (AFP/File)
Iraqi army forces. (AFP/File)

Iraqi military and allied volunteer fighters have recaptured several villages in volatile western province of Anbar, dealing another blow to Daesh militants as anti-militant operations continue.

Local media said Tuesday that members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces managed to retake four villages, namely Buasi, Fuhaylat, Daeij and Khalid, south of the flashpoint city of Fallujah.

The chief commander of the military operation in Anbar said Iraqi forces also destroyed four hideouts of militants in an area located some 40 kilometers east of the provincial capital of Ramadi.

Ismail Mahlavi said one notable member of Daesh was killed in the operation and several others were injured.

The advances came one day after Iraqis seized control over several villages close to Hit, a town west of Ramadi which pro-government forces recaptured last month.

The ongoing drive against Daesh is part of a larger operation against the group in Iraq’s west and north where the militants have been in control of some territories since summer of 2014. The military and allies liberated Ramadi in late December following fierce clashes around the town.

An operation is also under way in the northern province of Nineveh where Iraqis have been retaking villages and towns to prepare for a final offensive into Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the most important urban area under control of Daesh in Iraq and in neighboring Syria.

Iraqi forces are still at least 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Mosul where fighting there has been forcing thousands of civilians from their homes.

The United Nations warned Tuesday that the operation, which also enjoys partnership of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, could displace 30,000 civilians in the coming weeks.

The UN refugee agency said around 8,000 people have been accommodated in a camp east of the town of Makhmur, the main staging ground for Mosul operation, but warned that more places would be needed to respond to “in response to increasing numbers of newly displaced families.”

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