Iraqi gov't forces only days away from driving ISIS off Ramadi: Official

By @snksounak on
Ramadi
Iraqi security forces gather to advance towards the center of Ramadi city, December 22, 2015. Picture taken December 22, 2015. Reuters/Stringer

It may take only a few more days for the Iraqi army to drive Islamic State militants away from Ramadi, an Iraqi official has claimed.

The army chief said on Wednesday that the Iraqi government was all set to regain complete control of Ramadi, which went to the hands of the extremist forces in May. "In the coming days will be announced the good news of the complete liberation of Ramadi," Reuters quoted army chief of staff Lt. General Othman al-Ghanemi as telling Iraqia TV.

If government troops manage to capture a Sunni Muslim city in the centre of Ramadi, it will be the most critical victory for Baghdad after the victory in Tikrit, recaptured from ISIS militants in April.

Iraq has shown slow progress against the militant forces in the country because it typically refuses to accept the support from Shi'ite militias and depends majorly on government forces. According to Iraqi officials, Iran-backed Shi'ite militias often make things complicated for government troops.

The governor of Anbar’s office told Newsweek in an email that only foreign fighters fighting for ISIS remained in Ramadi. He said local Sunnis, who had helped the militant group capture Ramadi in May, left the city. He added that the foreign fighters were stopping civilians from leaving the city.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren said on Tuesday the US-led coalition was encouraged by the fact that it had managed to deliver 33 munitions in direct support of offensive operations in Ramadi within 24 hours.

“There's still a long way to go before we can declare Ramadi is completely clear,” he said in a telephonic press briefing. “There is a lot of dense terrain here that needs to be negotiated.”

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