Iraq's army tells residents of Daesh-held Falluja to prepare to leave
BAGHDADMay 22, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
May 22, 2016 12:00 am
Iraq's army said on Sunday it was preparing to retake the Daesh stronghold of Falluja and asked residents to get ready to leave, state TV reported.
Families who could not leave should raise white flags to
mark their location in the city just went of Baghdad, the army's
media unit added, according to the TV channel.
Falluja was the first Iraqi city to fall to the Daesh terror group in
January 2014, six months before the group that emerged from al
Qaeda swept through large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
The army "is asking the citizens that are still in Falluja
to be prepared to leave the city through secured routes that
will be announced later," the channel said.
The city on the Euphrates river 50 km (32 miles) west of the
capital, had a pre-war population of around 300,000.
It is encircled by Iraqi forces and a coalition of Shi'ite
militias known as Hashid Shaabi.
Known as the "City of Minarets and Mother of Mosques",
Falluja is a focus for Sunni Muslim faith and identity in Iraq.
It was badly damaged in two offensives by U.S. forces against al
Qaeda insurgents in 2004.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University