The final push for Ramadi by the Iraqi army and their popular committee – Hashd al-Shaabi, has started at 10:00am local time according to Iraqi military sources on the ground. The statement was made days after pamphlets were air-dropped over Ramadi, warning the people to leave the city within 72 hours.
Joint operations spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool asked all residents to bring appropriate identification with them.
“All security forces were instructed on how to deal with civilians approaching them,” he says.
ISIS suffered major setbacks in Anbar, particularly in Ramadi city, as their fighter figures have dwindled down to around 250 – 300 fighters, from their original number of around 2500 before the assault. The city is now encircled by 10,000 Iraqi Armed Forces.
It is suspected that ISIS have planted thousands of Improvised Explosive Devices scattered around the city.
Airstrikes have been reported as the army quickly advances on the city center.
Ramadi is important as it sits on the Euphrates River and contains a dam providing water to a significant portion of southern Shi’ite Iraq, despite being the biggest population center in the Sunni heartland. It is also a vital supply line from Baghdad to Syria and Jordan. The cutting of this supply line will disrupt ISIS operations in both Syria and Iraq.
The Nineveh Plains Protection Unit (NPU) camp should be completed by the end of this month. Once Ramadi is liberated, Baghdad will be able to start sending weapons and support to the NPU.