Iraqi Forces to Liberate Fallujah From Daesh in a Week - Military Liaison

© AP Photo / Khalid MohammedSmoke rises as Iraqi military forces prepare for an offensive into Fallujah to retake the city from Islamic State militants in Iraq, Monday, May 30, 2016
Smoke rises as Iraqi military forces prepare for an offensive into Fallujah to retake the city from Islamic State militants in Iraq, Monday, May 30, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The Iraqi city of Fallujah should be freed from occupation by the Islamic State, or Daesh, forces within one week, Iraqi government liaison for the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Bassam Al Hussaini told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The offensive to retake the city from militants has been delayed to prevent excessive civilian casualties, Hussaini explained.

"The only reason that we slowed down a little bit is just because we were getting a lot of reports saying there were still civilians [in Fallujah] that Daesh was using as human shields," he said. "We are hoping three, four days from now, at the most a week, that Fallujah will be free, 100 percent."

Abdullah Ahmed walks outside his home that was damaged in a bombing in Fallujah, Iraq. The U.S. and its coalition allies have carried out more than 1,000 strikes in Iraq since its campaign began in August - as well as hundreds more by American and Arab air forces in neighboring Syria. - Sputnik International
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Iraq's PMF, or Hashd al-Sha’abi, is a group of hundreds of thousands of predominantly Shia volunteer fighters, currently acting under Iraqi Ministry of Defense command and control, to liberate Iraqi territory from Daesh.

The Iraqi Army and PMF, backed by US airstrikes, launched the offensive to retake Fallujah on May 22. The advance was stalled into its second week so the armed forces can be certain "whoever is left is only 100 percent ISIS [Islamic State]," Hussaini explained.

"If we free Fallujah, we are going to probably contain Daesh in Iraq, at least 33-40 percent," Hussaini said, anticipating the liberation of the city will be "a great victory."

Asked about the strategic importance of the Iraqi government retaking the city from the Islamic State, Husseini stated, "I think they will collapse."

Hussaini noted that rebuilding the city and reconciling the people with the government in Baghdad after Daesh is exiled "is going to take a lot of time."

"Fallujah has been an obstacle to the government… and to the American forces," Husseini said of the city where US forces faced the bloodiest combat following the 2003 invasion and overthrow of the Saddam Hussein government.

Fallujah is one of the last remaining stronghold for the Islamic State in Iraq, followed by Mosul, the country’s second largest city.

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