ISIS pulls out of town in Iraq’s Anbar province
Iraq’s security forces established full control over the western province’s capital Ramadi last month
ISIS has pulled most of its fighters out of Hit, a large town in western Iraq on which security forces were advancing, a military spokesman said on Sunday.
“The majority of Daesh (ISIS) fighters in Hit, Rutba and Kubaysa have fled through the desert to other regions,” Yahya Rasool, Iraq’s top security spokesman, told AFP.
Earlier, an army general and a mayor said ISIS on Sunday pulled its fighters out of Rutba, a desert town in Anbar.
“Daesh (ISIS) has completely pulled out of Rutba and gone towards al-Qaim,” a major general told AFP, referring to a militant bastion on the border with Syria, further north in Anbar.
“Daesh’s armed men started pulling out last night and completed their withdrawal this morning,” the senior officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Rutba is now free of Daesh.”
The mayor of the town, which lies about 390 kilometers west of Baghdad on the road to Jordan, confirmed that ISIS had withdrawn.
“Daesh has pulled out. They have no armed men there now,” Imad Ahmed said.
“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,” he said.
After launching a final push against ISIS in the provincial capital Ramadi late last year, Iraq’s security forces established full control over the city last month.
They have since been securing areas east of Ramadi, further isolating the jihadist stronghold of Fallujah, which lies only 50 kilometers west of Baghdad.
The security forces are also currently working their way up the Euphrates, west of Ramadi, with a view to retaking the town of Hit.