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Mass exodus from Ramadi to northern Iraq

Residents of the central Iraqi city of Ramadi are continuing to flee their city, which is encircled from all four sides by Islamic State fighters (known as Daesh), heading to areas controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in order to escape clashes between units of the Iraqi army and Daesh.

Anadolu Agency's correspondent said on Sunday that Ramadi's residents are being displaced from population centres, carrying what they could of their belongings and heading to the town of Kilar in Diyali province, which is ruled by the Kurdish government.

The director of the Department of Immigration and Immigrants in Kilar area, Adel Ali, said in an interview with Anadolu that the number of immigrant families who came to the area in one day was over 1,000, and that it is not yet known where they will be accommodated.

The security forces reported that the refugees headed to the camp of Erpt in the city of Sulaymaniyah, while the official in charge of the camp, Payam Salam, said that he has not yet received any official correspondence on sheltering refugees in the camp. The number of refugees has currently exceeded the camp's capacity of 15,000 people.

On his part, the Iraqi minister for Immigration and Immigrants, Derbaz Mohammed, reported that the numbers of citizens who have been displaced from Ramadi has reached 20,000 people. Most had previously fled from Baghdad's provinces, Babil, Wasit, and Karbala, and fled to the Kurdish region.

The minister pointed out that they are keeping in touch with the Iraqi Sunni Assembly, and that they have begun the necessary preparations for providing assistance to refugees, indicating that they will be accommodated in mosques and schools and will return back to their homes after the return to normalcy in Ramadi.

It is worth mentioning that the Iraqi prime minister, Haider Al-Abadi, has instructed to send large quantities of arms and ammunition to Al-Anbar province in preparation for an extensive military operation in the city of Ramadi in the coming months.

Images by Anadolu Agency.

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