Militants of the Islamic State in western Iraq. File photo
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Istanbul, Turkey – Militant fighters of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) regained control of 14 villages in Anbar province in western Iraq, Iraqi security sources reported on Saturday.
Those villages were seized by the Iraqi army forces last week, before IS militants launched attacks and accordingly recaptured them.
Colonel Farouk al-Jughaifi, police commander of the Haditha District in the province, told reporters that the IS extremists were able to regain control of 14 villages “which were freed by the Iraqi army and police forces last week”.
Al-Jughaifi added that the government forces withdrew from their positions in the villages after fierce attacks by insurgents of the IS group, who used tanks and armored vehicles.
The Police Chief in Haditha District said that the government forces withdrew to the sub-district of al-Baghdadi and took up defensive positions to repel possible advancement by the IS group, adding that fighter jets of the U.S.-led international coalition and Iraqi warplanes did not participate in repelling IS attacks on these villages on Saturday.
In the meantime, Sheikh Naim Gawood, the Sunni tribal leader of al-Bunimir in Anbar province, said that the Islamic State surrounded 5000 civilians, mostly women and children, after the withdrawal of the Iraqi forces.
“IS took control of the villages west of Ramadi, and thousands of civilians have now been taken hostage by the terrorist group,” Gawood told ARA News.
The tribal leader also warned the Iraqi government of potential massacres against the families besieged in the villages, retelling of the previous massacre committed by the IS radicals against his own tribe about two months ago.
“We hereby demand the Iraqi government and the Ministry of Defense send urgent military reinforcements to lift the siege on the villages and rescue the people trapped inside,” Gawood appealed.
Reporting by: Mohammed al-Shami
Source: ARA News