The Iraqi border guards have recaptured the border strip area between Iraq, Jordan and Syria in al-Rutba in western Anbar province from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), a local official tells Diyaruna.
Earlier this week, Iraqi forces kicked off a military campaign to secure the border strip which extends from al-Walid crossing on the Syria border to Trebil crossing on the Jordan border, al-Rutba mayor Emad Mashaal al-Dulaimi told Diyaruna on Tuesday (June 20th).
"Our forces have fully retaken the 80-kilometre border strip," he said.
"In the first hours of the operation, Iraqi forces completed the recapture of 70 kilometres of the international highway which leads to al-Walid crossing," he said.
"The progress was very swift, and our forces did not encounter any resistance from ISIS elements who avoid confrontations in open desert areas," he said.
The Border Guards began digging trenches and setting up barricades, fortifications and posts along the strip as pre-emptive measures against any attacks by ISIS, al-Dulaimi said.
Iraqi forces continued to advance north of al-Walid crossing towards al-Qaim, which is still controlled by ISIS, he said.
"They are moving quickly to fully retake the western border and cut terrorists' supply routes in preparation for the liberation of al-Qaim, ISIS's last main stronghold in Anbar province," he added.
Meanwhile, residents still trapped in al-Qaim and other adjacent towns – Anah, Rawa and Akashat – are facing increasingly difficult conditions due to the continuous violations by militants.
More residents have been fleeing the area in recent days, al-Dulaimi said.
"Last month, we started receiving an average of 50 fleeing families per day -- as much as 300 people," he said, noting that they are immediately taken to shelters in Ramadi where they receive basic services and medical care.
"Terrorist attacks targeting al-Rutba will not stop unless the remaining cities in Anbar are liberating," al-Dulaimi said.