Anbar – Islamic State has evacuated its members and leaders after bringing down its flags from one of its main strongholds in western Anbar town of Qaim, on borders with Syria.
“IS militants evacuated its local, Arab and foreign members and leaders from all of the group’s headquarters in Qaim town,” Sputnik quoted a local source from Anbar as saying.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the members and leaders moved to new secret headquarters outside of Qaim and headed toward the Iraqi western desert.
IS, according to the source, “has adopted the new plan after huge losses were inflicted on the group due to airstrikes launched by Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition fighter jets, which targeted its havens, killing and injuring hundreds of members over the past months.”
In April, Qutri al-Obeidi, a leader with the paramilitary al-Hashd al-Shaabi troops said IS members were evacuated from Rawa town towards Qaim after the leaders ordered the fighters, along with their families, to leave due to intensified airstrikes.
Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it emerged to proclaim a self-styled Islamic Caliphate.
Fighter jets from the Iraqi army and the international coalition have also regularly pounded IS locations in the province. The Iraqi government is expected to aim at those strongholds once the Mosul battle is concluded.