Iraqi forces thrust into Fal­lu­jah from 3 sides

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

and most sea­soned fight­ing unit, the forces pushed into Fal­lu­jah before dawn, com­man­ders said.

“Iraqi forces en­tered Fal­lu­jah un­der air cover from the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion, the Iraqi air force and army aviation, and sup­ported by ar­tillery and tanks,” said Lt. Gen. Ab­del­wa­hab Al-Saadi, the com­man­der of the oper­a­tion.

“There is re­sis­tance from Daesh,” he added.

The forces have not yet ven­tured into the city cen­ter but they re­cap­tured some ar­eas in a south­ern sub­urb af­ter cross­ing a bridge, and took up po­si­tions on the east­ern and north­ern fringes.

The only fam­i­lies who were able to flee so far lived in out­ly­ing ar­eas, with the big­gest wave of dis­placed reach­ing camps on Satur­day night.

“Our re­sources in the camps are now very strained and with many more ex­pected to flee we might not be able to pro­vide enough drink­ing wa­ter for ev­ery­one,” said Nasr Mu­flahi, the Nor­we­gian Refugee Coun­cil’s Iraq di­rec­tor.

“We ex­pect big­ger waves of dis­place­ment the fiercer the fight­ing gets.”

In Am­riyat Al-Fal­lu­jah, a gov­ern­ment-con­trolled town to the south of the city, civil­ians trick­led in, starv­ing and ex­hausted af­ter walk­ing through the coun­try­side for hours at night, dodg­ing Daesh sur­veil­lance.

“I just de­cided to risk ev­ery­thing. I was ei­ther go­ing to save my chil­dren or die with my chil­dren,” said Ah­mad Sabih, 40, who reached the NRC-run camp early on Sun­day.

Mean­while, Iraq’s Kur­dish pesh­merga forces wrapped up an oper­a­tion east of Daesh’s north­ern hub of Mo­sul af­ter re­cap­tur­ing nine villages, a state­ment said.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Se­cu­rity Coun­cil said the oper­a­tion launched before dawn on Sun­day “had achieved its key ob­jec­tives.”

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