The Iraqi army has been preparing to retake the control of the strategic city of Fallujah in Anbar province from the Takfiri Daesh group, asking residents to leave the area before the operation begins.
The army said in a statement on Sunday that it “is asking citizens that are still in Fallujah to be prepared to leave the city through secured routes that will be announced later.”
The army also said that local residents who could not move should raise white flags to mark their location.
The army, however, did not give any clear date for the operation.
Deputy district council chairman Fail al-Essawi said people could camp west, southwest and southeast of Fallujah as three corridors would be opened for them to be able to leave the city.
Essawi said over 75,000 people remained in the city.
Fallujah was the first city seized by Daesh militants in Iraq in January 2014, six months before the Takfiri group took control of many other Iraqi cities.
Daesh shooters have reportedly been stopping Fallujah citizens from escaping the city amid acute shortage of basic commodities and medication.
According to the UN and Human Rights Watch, people in Fallujah were facing food and medicine shortages and aid convoys could not reach the city.
Iraqi forces have surrounded the western city after they took control of the city of Ramadi last December. Militants have prevented people from leaving the city.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted their offensive in June 2014.
Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.