Iraqi forces have driven out militants from more areas as they are making headways against al-Qaeda-linked forces in the western province of Anbar.
Security forces took control of several neighborhoods in the provincial capital of Ramadi after days of heavy clashes in the city, Lieutenant General Ali Ghaidan Majid, the commander of Iraq’s Ground Forces, stated.
Government forces are preparing a major assault on the neighboring city of Fallujah–a short drive from the capital, Baghdad.
Militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda, have been holding parts of the city.
Iraq’s defense officials said warplanes and artillery have pounded neighborhoods in the north of Fallujah.
The army has largely stayed out of Fallujah for the fear of high civilian casualties and heavy damage to the property.
The Iraqi army’s steady progress comes amid continued bomb expositions that rocked areas in and around Baghdad. The attacks have left at least seven people dead.
Fighting erupted in the Ramadi area on December 30, when security forces cleared a protest camp, which the government said was being used by militants for launching terrorist attacks.
The removal of the camp sparked protests from Iraqi lawmakers who urged the army to leave the city.
But the withdrawal of government forces from the city paved the way for ISIL militants to move in and seize the provincial capital and the neighboring city of Fallujah.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says raging clashes have displaced over 140,000 people in the Anbar Province.