Iraqi troops and volunteer fighters have made significant gains in their joint operation to retake areas from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levan (ISIL) terrorist group in the western province of Anbar.
Meantime, military officials vowed that victory in the tough battle is very close.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command for Anbar Province said in a statement on Wednesday that the pro-government forces have further closed in on the provincial capital of Ramadi, retaking a key bridge north of the city.
“Great people, the hour of victory against the Daesh (ISIL) criminal gangs has come,” said the statement, adding, “Your heroic forces are advancing steadily from the northern side… [and] they [have] managed to reach Albu Farraj area.”
Major General Ismail Mahalawi, who serves as the head of the Anbar command, said “Iraqi forces have raised the Iraqi flag on Albu Farraj Bridge” over the Euphrates, Press TV reported.
Over the past two weeks, units of the Iraqi army, backed by popular forces known as the Popular Mobilization Units, have been making advances around Ramadi, a city located 100 kilometers west of the capital Baghdad. Those gains have been mostly in the west and north of the city with Daesh militants forced back to the central neighborhoods.
Military officials have blamed the scorching heat for their sluggish progress to retake the city since the start of October.