An Iraqi official said eight thousand civilians are being confined by ISIL militants inside Anbar’s Western town of Annah.
Saad Awwad said on Sunday those are mostly children and women who are denied exit from the ISIL controlled regions in Anbar province, Iraqi News reported.
“Intelligence information received by security forces reveal that the number of ISIL militants in Annah, West of Anbar, does not exceed 250, especially as most of its leaderships and emirs had fled to Syria over the past months,” he said in statements.
“Joint forces are preparing to clear the Western regions, including Annah, Rawa and Qaem, as well as the borderline between Iraq and Syria, within the next few days so as to eliminate ISIL from the whole of Anbar and free civilians stranded at those regions,” said Awwad, who added that the stranded families experience difficult conditions due to food, medicine and petroleum shortages.
Rights organizations and news reports have accused ISIL militants of deliberately shooting at, or executing, civilians who attempt to flee regions held by the militant group.
Iraqi fighter jets have regularly bombed ISIL locations West of Anbar since major operations launched by the government against the group last year.