Volunteers bolster Iraqi forces

Last updated 00:53 13/07/2014

Relevant offers

Middle East

Egyptian elections called in effort to bring back democracy Scuffle between Israeli soldier and Palestinian youth sparks criticism Fire at Saudi Arabian oil workers compound kills one, injures 30 Thousands rally in Beirut against politicians Egypt sentences 3 Al-Jazeera reporters to 3 years in prison Bodies found in ship's hull as migrant wave inundates Europe Pipeline explosion lights up Tashkent, Uzbekitstan sky Turkey must ramp up Islamic State fight, says French President Francois Hollande Explosions at Afghan gas terminal kill 10 children, shake city Gay men tell UN Security Council of being Islamic State targets

Iraqi officials are airlifting some 4000 volunteers to an embattled city west of Baghdad to help bolster government forces locked in a running battle with Sunni militants there, authorities said.

Around 2500 of the volunteers arrived in Ramadi, located 115 kilometers west of the capital and are to be joined by the remaining 1500 on Saturday (local time) said Gen. Rasheed Flayeh, the commander of operations in Anbar province.

The men are being ferried out to Ramadi from Baghdad by helicopter, Flayeh said.

The vast majority of volunteers are Shiites who answered a call from the country's top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to defend Iraq from the militants who have overrun of much of the country's north and west over the past month.

The Sunni militant blitz is led by the Islamic State extremist group, which has unilaterally declared the establishment of an Islamic state ruled by Shariah law in the territory it controls straddling the Iraq-Syria border.

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar, an overwhelmingly Sunni province and one of the most active battle fronts in Iraq.

 

Sunni militants seized control of the Anbar city of Fallujah, and parts of Ramadi in January. The government has since reasserted its control of Ramadi, but Fallujah remains in insurgent hands.


Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content