An Iraqi army general says the Daesh Takfiri group has pulled its militants out of the town of Rutbah in the conflict-ridden province of Anbar.
“Daesh has completely pulled out of Rutbah and gone towards al-Qa’im,” the general, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Sunday.
Qa’im is a Daesh bastion on Iraq’s border with Syria.
“Daesh’s armed men started pulling out last night and completed their withdrawal this morning. Rutbah is now free of Daesh,” the general added.
Rutbah mayor Imad Ahmed also confirmed the report, saying Daesh has no armed men there now.
“This withdrawal looks real, a consequence of their losses in Anbar, notably the retaking by the security forces of Ramadi, of areas east of Ramadi and the progress towards Hit,” Ahmed added.
Meanwhile, Arabic language al-Forat news agency also quoted Major General Ali Dab’oun, a commander of the Iraqi army, as saying that Daesh militants also fled from Kabisah region in the town of Hit in west Anbar.
Dab’oun, who is the commander of al-Jazeerah and al-Badia operations, said the militants had shaved their beards and dressed in camouflage.
He added that the army was planning a mop up operation in Hit and asked local residents to cooperate with security forces.
Iraqi forces established full control over the city of Ramadi in February and have launched operations in areas around the provincial city to free more regions from Takfiri militants.
Counter-terrorism forces, army soldiers, police and allied volunteer fighters have been conducting a joint operation since March 1 aimed at retaking militant-held areas near the capital, Baghdad.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Daesh Takfiri terrorists began their march through the Iraqi territory in June 2014.