Iraqi forces seize neighbourhood on outskirts of IS-held city

Iraqi forces seize neighbourhood on outskirts of IS-held city
Iraqi troops battling the Islamic State group on Tuesday retook a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Ramadi, a provincial capital captured by the extremists earlier this year, officials said.
2 min read
09 December, 2015

Iraqi security forces on Tuesday recaptured a large area on the southwestern side of the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State group [IS formerly ISIS], which overran the city in May, officials said.

Retaking the al-Tamim area from IS is a significant breakthrough for Iraqi forces, which have been fighting for months to secure territory around Ramadi, a major city west of Baghdad and the capital of the vast Anbar province.

      Anbar stretches from the borders of Syria, Jordan and Saudi [Getty]

"Today, our forces completely cleared the al-Tamim area after a fierce battle against IS gunmen," Sabah al-Noman, the spokesman for Iraq's counter-terrorism service said.

IS fighters "had no choice except to surrender or fight and they were completely destroyed," Noman added.

Major General Hadi Irzayij, the police chief for Anbar, confirmed that al-Tamim had been retaken as did Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command.

"The liberation of al-Tameem will greatly help in speeding up the liberation of the city of Ramadi," Rasool said.

"Iraqi forces are ready and close to entering the centre of the city," Irzayij said.

Iraqi forces were working to clear bombs planted by IS in al-Tamim, which is bordered by a branch of the Euphrates River that divides it from the next extremist-held area.

In IS-controlled Fallujah, which lies about half way between Ramadi and Baghdad, 30 civilians were killed on Tuesday when government war planes bombed residential areas in the east and north of the city, according to al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service.

Around 100,000 civilians still living in the Sunni-majority city, have been dealing with around two months of severe shortages of basic commodities such as food, medical supplies and fuel, local leaders have said.

The Iraqi military backed by popular mobilisation militias have circled the city blocking vital roads, while IS has prevented locals from seeking refuge outside the city.

IS overran large parts of Iraq in June 2014, including major territory in Anbar, which stretches from the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the western approach to Baghdad.

Shifting parts of Ramadi, located 100 kilometres from Baghdad, had been held by anti-government fighters since the beginning of 2014.

But IS did not succeeded in completely overrunning it until May of this year.