Iraqi government forces say they have made significant advances around the Islamic State-held city of Ramadi and are preparing for a final assault.
The Joint Operations Command for Anbar province said troops and militiamen had reached the Albu Farraj area, on Ramadi’s northern outskirts.
It is thought that there are between 600 and 1,000 IS militants in the city, and that they are well dug in.
On Tuesday, the US said it believed now was the time to retake Ramadi.
The city, which sits about 90km (55 miles) to the west of the capital Baghdad, was captured by IS in May in an embarrassing defeat for the Iraqi army that saw more than 275,000 people displaced.
‘Conditions are set’
The Anbar Joint Operations Command declared in statement on Wednesday that the “hour of victory” against IS had come.
“Your heroic forces are advancing steadily from the northern side… they managed to reach Albu Farraj area,” the statement added.
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