In the last two days, nearly 8,000 Iraqis have fled the ongoing violence in Ramadi, as Daesh militants fight to wrest control of Anbar province’s capital from Iraqi government forces, according to the International Organization for Migration.
In a renewed assault beginning late Thursday on Ramadi, located west of Baghdad, Daesh militants were able to seize the main government compound after assaulting the city with car bombs.
The group reportedly withdrew from the building Saturday after airstrikes by the US-led coalition forced the militants to push back, Ramadi’s mayor told Reuters.
“An estimated total of 1,296 families (7,776 individuals) have been displaced and the numbers are increasing,” the IOM said, according to AFP.
The displaced families took refuge from the violence to the east of Ramadi, but have not been allowed to cross the Euphrates river and enter Baghdad province.
Similar waves of displaced people fleeing violence in Anbar province have faced hardship and harassment upon entering Baghdad. Some Baghdad officials blame displaced Sunnis from Anbar for increased bombing attacks in the city, saying the refugees allow cover for Daesh militants to infiltrate the Iraqi capital.
Meanwhile, suicide car bombs in Ramadi killed ten Iraqi troops Sunday, authorities told AP. If Daesh succeeds in seizing the city, it would be their biggest victory since taking control of Nineveh province’s Mosul in June 2014.
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