Anbar governor gives militants one-week ultimatum
Iran Press TV
Sat Feb 8, 2014 2:20PM GMT
The governor of Iraq's Anbar Province has given militants controlling the city of Fallujah one week to surrender as government troops are making headway against al-Qaeda-linked forces in the area.
In a statement on Saturday, Ahmed al-Dulaimi gave the ultimatum to militants who have taken the control of Fallujah for more than a month.
'People of Anbar, criminals have kidnapped Fallujah. But, I swear to God, we will achieve victory against injustice and Fallujah will return to normal," the governor said.
While he gave militants a week to lay down their arms and promised them amnesty, he noted that the Iraqi officials would not negotiate with the al-Qaeda-linked militant group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is comprised of "killers and criminals."
Fighting erupted in the Ramadi area, also in Anbar Province, on December 30, 2013, when security forces cleared a protest camp, which the government said was being used by militants for launching terrorist attacks.
The removal of the camp sparked protests from Iraqi lawmakers who urged the army to leave the city.
But the withdrawal of government forces from the city paved the way for ISIL militants to move in and seize the provincial capital and the neighboring city of Fallujah.
The Iraqi army, allied with Sunni tribesmen, has cleared most parts of Ramadi. Army's operation in Fallujah has been postponed due to concerns over the safety of civilians.
Human Rights Watch in a recent statement condemned the ISIL for committing crimes against humanity that include crimes against civilians and military troops.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says clashes have displaced over 140,000 people in the Anbar Province.
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