According to the police chief of Iraq’s troubled Anbar province, a recent military operation has cleared most of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham fighters from the city, the Turkish Anadolu Agency reported on May 22. General Ismail al Mahlawi told the agency that large-scale military operations have been conducted against ISIS since the beginning of May in Ramadi and that ISIS fighters have been driven from most of the city.
Mahlawi explained that the bulk of the operations took place in the city center of Ad-Dubbat, and in the Al-Bakir and Al-Hamira neighborhoods of Ramadi. Fifteen vehicles used by ISIS were destroyed in the operation, he said. The southern parts of the city have been liberated as tens of ISIS militants have been killed and many left the region. Other areas have come under the control of the government with the help of the police forces and the tribes, according to Mahlawi’s statement.
After the Iraqi army withdrew from the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province in December, ISIS seized the two cities in January. Since then, the army has stepped up its efforts to regain control in Anbar. The government has been negotiating with local Sunni tribesmen in order to recruit them to join its fight against the militants.
Last week, however, Sheikh Ghassan Al Aithawi, a cleric in Anbar, told Asharq Al-Awsat that many areas in Ramadi were still not cleared of ISIS. “They are in the areas of Bouabaid, Boudhiab and parts of the Malahmah area, because the military operations there do not include taking control of the territory, which allows ISIS men to return,” he said.
Also last week, al Alam reported that the Iraqi police took back control of the occupied areas of Fallujah after an army offensive that killed some hundred ISIS militants.