Voluntary Forces to Step In if Fallujah Clean-Up Drags On: Spokesman
The spokesman for the Iraqi voluntary forces said they are ready to take action inside Fallujah if the army’s operation to cleanse the beleaguered city of Daesh terrorists takes too long and the clashes turn into a war of attrition.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Abu Jaafar al-Assadi underlined that the voluntary forces, known as the Popular Mobilization Units or Hashid al-Shaabi, will enter Fallujah whenever the Baghdad government asks for help or the military forces need a hand in recapturing the city from terrorists.
There are fears that a lingering operation to liberate the city would result in a war of attrition, Assadi noted, saying Hashid al-Shaabi will take action to avert a drawn-out war.
According to the spokesman, the city of Fallujah is fully surrounded by the Iraqi forces, and the army troops and the Federal Police forces are advancing toward city center from two directions in the southern areas.
One of the main obstacles to cleansing Fallujah of terrorists, Assadi explained, is the huge number of civilians in the city.
Led by the elite counter-terrorism service (CTS), Iraq’s best trained and most seasoned fighting unit, the Iraqi army entered Fallujah on May 30 in a major offensive that began a week earlier.
In January 2014, Fallujah, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, became the first Iraqi city to fall under the control of the terrorists, six months before they declared a caliphate over territory seized in Iraq and Syria.