Iraqi government forces battle Isis in Ramadi
Iraqi government forces battle Isis in Ramadi (file photo). Iraqi troops entered the centre of the city on Tuesday, 22 December 2015, to recapture the town.Reuters File

The Islamic State (Isis) militants are reportedly hours away from capturing the Iraqi city of Ramadi, local officials said on Wednesday.

Isis is believed to have besieged the city from several directions and engaged in a fierce gun-battle with Iraqi government troops.

An AFP report citing local residents said that Isis launched a major attack on the city, located over 100 km from Baghdad, on Wednesday morning and captured Sjariyah, Albu-Ghanim and Soufiya, from the government forces.

The Iraqi troops, after losing three major towns to Isis, are now requesting reinforcements from the government. The Deputy Head of the Anbar Provincial Council Falih Essawi told CNN that it looked uncertain how long government troops would be able to hold out against Isis fighters.

Essawi has urged that Ramadi needs reinforcements from the Iraqi government and also air support from US -led coalition to fight against the invading militants. 

Essawi said that at present Isis has taken over several villages, towns and roads in the east and south of the city, leaving Iraqi forces to battle for the west of Ramadi but even that is under threat now.

With the situation getting worse, many on social media posted images of hundreds of vehicles heading towards roads leading out of the besieged Iraqi city.

The Isis attacks come just a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made an in-person appeal to US President Barack Obama requesting more help to defeat Isis. Obama has assured Iraq of more assistance to fight Isis.

Ramadi, which is the capital of Anbar Province since 2014 has partially been captured by Isis. Since then, the Sunni militant group has been trying to gain grounds. 

Twitter Reactions on Ramadi

Barzan Sadiq ‏@SeniorB 

More than 50 families fled from eastern villages of #Ramadi after #ISF withdrawal & #ISIS progress in Albu Ghanm area in #Anbar province.

Barzan Sadiq ‏@SeniorB 

The council of #Anbar province: #Ramadi may fall into #ISIS control because #ISF withdrawing easily.

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