Iraq’s military implored residents of ISIS-held Falluja to flee their homes Sunday as soldiers prepare for an operation to wrest the metropolis from the terror group.
“I am calling for citizens who are inside Falluja to leave their areas and head towards safe corridors,”
Iraqi Joint Operations Command Yahya Rasoul said on Iraqi TV.
“In the coming few days, the operations to liberate Falluja will be launched.”
The completion of all the preparations and plans to liberate the city of Falluja and to eliminate ISIS militants from the city, Rasoul added.
Falluja, in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, was the scene of two major battles during the Iraq War. It has been under ISIS control since January 2014.
Human Rights Watch warned last month that ISIS was barring civilians from leaving Falluja and that residents faced starvation due to food shortages and exorbitant prices after an extended siege.
On Saturday, Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias known as Popular Mobilization Units safely evacuated 30 families who managed to escape the city, according to a PMU statement.
Families who are unable to flee the city have been told to raise a white flag above their homes.
The military has told families to call or text an emergency line to seek evacuation.