0854 GMT December 14, 2019
Retaking the Al-Tameem area from Daesh is a significant breakthrough for Iraqi forces, which have been fighting for months to secure territory around Ramadi, a major city west of Baghdad and the capital of the vast Anbar Province, AFP reported.
"Today, our forces completely cleared the Al-Tameem area after a fierce battle against Daesh gunmen," Sabah al-Noman, the spokesman for Iraq's counterterrorism service, said.
Daesh terrorists "had no choice except to surrender or fight and they were completely destroyed," Noman said.
Major General Hadi Irzayij, the police chief for Anbar, confirmed that Al-Tameem had been retaken as did Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command.
"The liberation of Al-Tameem will greatly help in speeding up the liberation of the city of Ramadi," Rasool said.
"Iraqi forces are ready and close to entering the center of the city," Irzayij said. Iraqi forces were working to clear bombs planted by Daesh in Al-Tameem.
Iraq’s Defense Ministry in a statement said Daesh terrorists suffered huge losses to their forces and weaponry during the operation.
The Tuesday statement said the pro-government forces also managed to secure the northern gate to a major military camp held by Daesh in Ramadi, saying the base formerly served as the command center for the operation to liberate Anbar. Daesh began its offensive in Iraq in June 2014. Pro-government forces have managed to push back the terrorists from some of their major bastions, including the cities of Tikrit and Baiji in Salahuddin Province, while the operation continues to retake positions in Anbar and also in the northern province of Nineveh.
Daesh has also suffered setbacks in the north of Anbar as Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, purged them from the border city of Sinjar last month. The loss of Sinjar and other areas in Anbar would deprive terrorists from most of their communications with Daesh-controlled areas in neighboring Syria.