Iraq’s army said on Sunday it was preparing to retake the Daesh stronghold of Fallujah and asked residents to get ready to leave, state TV reported. Families who could not leave should raise white flags to mark their location in the city just went of Baghdad, the army’s media unit added, according to the TV channel.
The army “is asking the citizens that are still in Fallujah to be prepared to leave the city through secured routes that will be announced later,” the channel said.
Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall to Daesh in January 2014, six months before the group that emerged from Al-Qaeda swept through large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. The city on the Euphrates river 50 km (32 miles) west of the capital, had a pre-war population of around 300,000. It is encircled by Iraqi forces and the Hashid Shaabi coalition of Shi’ite militias.