[/size]Large part of western Iraqi province under the control IS militants since early 2014
Basnews views 26.05.2015 11:53
The Iraqi government on Tuesday announced the launch of a military operation to drive Islamic State (IS) out of Anbar. The extremists captured Ramadi, the capital of the western Iraqi province, last week.
Iraqi state TV announced the start of the operation, in which troops will be backed by Shi’ite and Sunni paramilitary forces, but did not provide further details.
IS militants seized large parts of Anbar in early 2014 and eventually captured Ramadi 17th May.
The fall of the city marked a significant defeat for Iraqi forces, which had been making steady progress against the insurgents over the past year, backed by US-led international coalition airstrikes.
Security forces and Sunni militiamen who had been battling the extremists in Ramadi for months, collapsed as IS militants overran the city mid-May.
The capture of Ramadi has created tension between the US and Iraqi governments, after US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said that Iraqi forces had “vastly outnumbered” the IS militants in Ramadi but “showed no will to fight.”
After the fall of Ramadi, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi called on Shi’ite militias under the Hashd al-Shaabi command to help Iraqi troops retake the majority Sunni province.