UN says 85,000 Iraqis have fled ISIL violence in Ramadi
About 85,000 people have fled the Iraqi city of Ramadi since mid-May, when Takfiri ISIL terrorists seized the capital of the western province of Anbar, the UN says.
William Spindler, the spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), announced the figure in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday.
Spindler also said that, overall, acts of violence perpetrated by the ISIL militants have resulted in the displacement of over 180,000 from Ramadi and surrounding areas since early April.
Thousands of the displaced have remained stuck for days at the bridge of Bzeibez, which connects Anbar to the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad, the official said, adding that although the bottleneck at the bridge had eased, “the requirements for displaced people to have a local sponsor in Baghdad (to cross) remains a concern.”
In a separate development, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization surrounded terrorists in an area of about 40 square kilometers near al-Nibaie district, al-Mosana installations, and al-Thirthar dam in Anbar, Iraq’s al-Sumaria news network reported on Friday.
Meanwhile, other media reports said that the ISIL militants have planted bombs on all the entrances of Ramadi, located about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Baghdad.
The ISIL militants managed to bring parts of Ramadi under their control on May 17. The Iraqi army, backed by volunteer fighters, formally launched an operation on May 26 to drive the terrorists out of Anbar and retake full control of the provincial capital.
Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the Popular Mobilization forces, also a lawmaker, has said the offensive would “not last for a long time” and that new weapons would be used in the battle that would “surprise the enemy.”
The Takfiri ISIL terrorists started a campaign of terror in the northern and western parts of Iraq in early June last year. The Iraqi army and volunteer forces have been fighting them since then.